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People, Parasites, and PlowsharesLearning From Our Body's Most Terrifying Invaders$
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Dickson Despommier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161947

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161947.001.0001

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All’s Well That Ends Wells

All’s Well That Ends Wells

Dracunculus medinensis

(p.147) 7 All’s Well That Ends Wells
People, Parasites, and Plowshares

Dickson D. Despommier

William C. Campbell

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the proliferation and infection of Dracunculus medinensis in the body of its host. Dracunculus medinensis or Guinea worm is a nematode that causes dracunculiasis. The life-cycle for Dracunculus medinensis starts out when a person drinks water that contains copepods-group of small crustaceans found in the sea. After the infected copepod is swallowed, the infective larva is digested away and is carried to the small intestine where it matures. The adult worm lives embedded in the subcutaneous tissues, just under the dermis (outer skin), for up to a year. Its head is pointed down and is usually located at the level of the ankle or the top of the foot causing blister formation that takes place over several weeks.

Keywords:   Dracunculus medinensis, copepods, small intestine, contaminated water, blister, Guinea worm, dracunculiasis, parasitic infection

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