Filtering guinea worms in Sudan
Anita Suri Kåss explains how Dr Anders Seim had the initiative to put a simple prevention measure into large scale production to help eradicate a painful and debilitating parasitic disease.
- By: Anita Kass
The guinea worm or Dracunculus (Latin for little dragon) is thought to have existed since ancient times. To this day, treatment involves wrapping the worm around a stick. This ancient parasitic infection is nearing extinction, with only Sudan standing as a major obstacle to the disease's disappearance in the coming years.
Humans acquire the infestation by drinking water infected with guinea worm larvas. The larvas penetrate the upper gastrointestinal tract and remain in the peritoneal space for up to three months. The female worm bores holes through the body and makes its way to the surface; holes may be anywhere on the body but they are usually on the legs and feet. At this stage millions of eggs, embryos, and first stage larvas occupy most of the worm's body cavity. A blister forms on the skin of the host at the anterior end of the worm and erupts. The female