little dragons

Well, I spent some time with the lovely Amanda Rocco last night. We were both very over-tired and ridiculous, and at one point she asked me what kind of funky health stuff I would be doing in Ghana. I told her there was a guinea worm endemic in parts of Ghana, and that there was a chance I would be doing something to do with that. In fact, the name of my project is Water Sanitation, due to the growing problem of water borne diseases such as guinea worm. Anywho, when Mandy asked me how one gets it, I couldn't tell her. All I knew is that eventually you have to pull it out of your skin. She looked at me like an idiot, and suggested I do some research before I leave. Not a bad idea.

Anyway, Wikipedia can do a much better job explaining the dirty little details, but here is a snapshot:

Dracunculiasis, more commonly known as Guinea worm disease (GWD) or Medina Worm, is a parasitic infection caused by the nematode, Dracunculus medinensis. The name, dracunculiasis, is derived from the Latin "affliction with little dragons."The painful, burning sensation experienced by the infected patient has led to the disease being called “the fiery serpent.” Once prevalent in 20 nations in Asia and Africa, the disease remains endemic in only five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Guinea worm disease will be the first parasitic disease to be eradicated and the first disease in history eradicated through behavior change, without the use of vaccines or medicines. Guinea worm disease is contracted when a person drinks stagnant water contaminated with the larvae of the Dracunculus worm.
So there you have it kids. Looks fun, huh? I know Peace Corps workers have done a lot to help eradicate this disease , and I just might be part of that. Ve vill see.


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