What is Guineworm?

Guinea worm disease is in existence since many years in the world. Guinea worm disease is a vectorborne parasitic disease, mainly of the subcutaneous tissues (usually leg and foot) caused by the nematode parasite, Dracunculus medinensis. The female grows to a length of 55 to 120 cm and the male is short 2–3 cm.

The main link in the transmission of guinea worm disease is water infested with Cyclops. Where the step–wells are the source of water supply, peak transmission occurs during the dry season (March–May) when the contact between open cases of Guinea worm disease and the drinking water is the greatest, and there is little transmission when the wells are full during and after rains.Where the ponds are used, transmission appears to be confined to June–September, when the ponds contain water.

In India Guineaworm cases were identified in states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The success in National Guinea Worm Eradication Programme is really outstanding. There was rapid decline in endemicity with no indigenous case since last 10 years.

In Maharashtra state no case has been identified since 1991. In fact, the International Commission has certified country as Guineaworm Disease Free for Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication on 5th February 2000.

As per the guidelines of WHO there is still existence of Guineaworm in some countries of the world. So, the active search is carried out once a year (June) in Maharashtra State for vigilance.