Throughout the world, people are needlessly suffering from an easily preventable disease called Guinea worm. When this disease occurs, a worm literally grows inside of a personís body. Symptoms of the disease include fever, severe pain and swelling, and a burning blister. . Guinea worm is caused by drinking water containing water fleas that are infected with larvae. Once ingested, the larvae become female worms and migrate towards the surface of the skin, where the blister forms. Often the blister forms near the foot. The blister eventually breaks, and the worm must be pulled out of the body. Since a worm could be up to 1 meter long, the process could take months to complete. Guinea worm disease occurs annually in poor areas when the agricultural production is at its highest. Many times the disease affects workers who are vital to production, so it hampers agricultural production and weakens to economy.
Thankfully, Guinea worm can be easily prevented. The Carter Center, initiated by Jimmy Carter, has undertaken the mission to eliminate Guinea worm completely. The easiest way for Guinea worm to be prevented is to provide clean drinking water. There is not drug or vaccine to treat or prevent the disease. To stop the disease, it is best to provide drinking water from wells. The water should be filtered with a cloth filter, which will eliminate any of the water fleas. The water should also be treated with larvacide. Larvacide is a chemical that kills the larvae in the water. The chemical company BASF is partnering with the Carter Center to donate a larvacide called Abate. Abate will kill the larvae before they mature. Also, those infested with Guinea worm should be kept away from pure drinking sources so that they do not contaminate them. Finally, it is important that people be educated about the origin and prevention of Guinea worm.
With the help of water filters, larvacide, and education, the amount of people suffering from Guinea worm has decreased tremendously over the past few years. In 1986, over 3.5 million people in twenty different countries were victims of the disease. Today, there are less than 1,100 cases in four countries. It is astounding the difference clean water can make in a community. With the threat of Guinea worm abating, poor villages that were formerly at risk can focus on their livelihoods instead of battling this disturbing disease. Altogether, the eradication of Guinea worm is a noble goal, and is one that we should all support.
The chart found below will tell you how much cloth can be used to create a cloth filter for the water. We decided to use this information, since we couldn't find anything else that is even remotely related.
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Below are various images of the Guinea Worm disease. Please click on the "Back To Top" to return to the top of the page, and read up on the disease.
This webpage was created by Andrew Westra, of Eastern Christian High School, as a project for Web Design class block 4A/4B.