Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Medical Parasitology




© 2009 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Dracunculiasis (also know as dracontiasis) is caused by the "guinea worm" Dracunculus medinensis. It has been described in humans since antiquity with references to this infection being noted in the Bible and ancient Greek and Roman texts. A calcified adult worm has also been noted by X-ray in an Egyptian mummy and there are descriptions of the disease in ancient papyrus texts. It is transmitted by ingestion of a fresh water copepod (Mesocyclops, Metacyclops, 1hermocyclops) containing infective larvae and is endemic only in areas where this intermediate host is found. Transmission occurs in underdeveloped regions with limited access to a safe water supply. Debilitation as a result of guinea worm infection is common, resulting in chronic pain, acute or chronic infection, impaired joint mobility and occasionally tetanus. Short tertn and long term disability from dracunculiasis leads to lost work days and decreased economic productivity.