Dec 6, 2008

One Less Worm

What's this? Good news? Yes. It turns out that thanks to a variety of eradication efforts, time, materials, and education, Guinea worm infections are at an all-time low (assuming President Carter can be believed...)

This parasitic worm is being drawn out of a child's foot by a clinic worker in Savelugu, Ghana. Guinea worm (Dracunculiasis) infections are nasty deals, caused by imbibing small water fleas that are in turn infected with worm larvae. When the flea-born larvae enter the human body, they grow, sometimes to a length of three feet. When they finally emerge into the big, blue world, it is through a festering blister on the person's skin.

Thanks to all those workers who have fought this parasite. I'm sure a purist out there will say that the Guinea worm plays a vital part in some section of the African ecology, but that's little consolation to children such as this one. The world can do with one less parasitic worm.

Photo source: AP Photo/Olivier Asselin via Yahoo!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Parasites ARE extremely important parts of the environment (read Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer). In fact, most species in the world are parasites. However, we humans certainly could live without them living on/in us.

Denita TwoDragons said...

Hon, no offense, I love your site and all...but I'm going to have to politely wait until enough posts are added that I don't see this. Otherwise it'll make me throw up...

Geugh...

--TwoDragons

Wendy said...

I first learned about these things in HS freshman biology. I've been a tad squeamish about worms ever since. *shudder* She showed us a movie of a long worm being wrapped around a pencil to remove it slowly. (Breaking the worm is BAD.) I think I'll go shower in bleach now...

niner said...

Wow! Ick! >.< omg....
POLL: Which is worse, the Guinea Worm or Bot Flies?!

Vanessa said...

Ok, this is the first post that I have been a wee bit freaked out over.
Very yucky.

Shane said...

Suddenly, my Spaghetti is starting to give me a malevolent set of Heebie-jeebies. Lol.

As for Botfly vs. Guinea worm, I would put my money on the flies. Then again, I happen to dislike maggots more than 'worm-types'.

Parasites are remarkable creatures. considering how volatile an enviroment the human body is. Gotta actually show some respect for something that tries to live someplace where 99% of the neighbors are tryings to actively kill you.

muttluver said...

Shane: The same could be said of bacteria. There is a REASON that the body is specifically designed so that bacteria benificial to some parts of the body don't get into other parts where they'd be harmful. I's bad. (Baby talk for it's bad.)

I'm actually surprised I'm not feeling squeamish... that's gotta hurt.

Victorya said...

worms:victorya as spiders:. . .

*shudders*

can't erase the image from my mind

*shudders some more*

Ick.