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Guinea worm Disease UPSC NOTE

 Why in news

  • The world is on the brink of a public health triumph as it closes in on eradicating Guinea worm disease

  • There were more than 3.5 million cases of this disease in the 1980s, but according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) weekly epidemiological report, they dwindled to 14 cases in 2021, 13 in 2022, and just six in 2023.

  • At a time when medical advancements often headline with breakthrough vaccines and cures.

  • The battle against Guinea worm disease stands out for its reliance on basic public health principles rather than high-tech interventions

  • Unlike many of its viral counterparts, this parasitic adversary has offered no chance for immunity, defied prevention by vaccines, and resisted most cures — yet the possibility of its eradication is closer than ever thanks to the triumph of human resilience and ingenuity.

Guinea worm disease

  • Guinea worm disease, also known as Dracunculiasis, is a neglected tropical disease caused by the parasitic worm Dracunculus medinensis.

  • This parasite infects humans through contaminated drinking water and causes painful, debilitating symptoms

  • However, it is important to know that Guinea worm disease is nearing eradication and poses minimal risk to most people.


  • People become infected by drinking water containing water fleas (copepods) infected with Guinea worm larvae.

  • These larvae mature in the human body, eventually migrating through the skin, usually on the legs or feet, to emerge and release new larvae back into the water.


  • The most prominent symptom is the emergence of the worm, which can be up to a meter long and cause intense pain, swelling, and blistering.

  • Other symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

Treatment and Prevention:

  • There is no specific medication or vaccine for Guinea worm disease.

  • Treatment involves slowly and carefully extracting the worm through the skin over several days, avoiding breaking it.

  • Prevention relies on ensuring access to safe drinking water and educating communities about the risks of contaminated water.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Guinea worm Disease UPSC NOTE
Guinea worm Disease UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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