Surgical Extraction of Guinea Worm: Disability Reduction and Contribution to Disease Control

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  • UNICEF, Sanitation, Water, and Community Health Project (SWACH), UNICEF, United Nations, New Delhi, India

Surgical extraction of Guinea worm prior to eruption through the skin has long been performed by traditional healers in India. Using modern aseptic techniques under local anesthesia, unerupted worms can be completely and painlessly removed in several minutes. As a result, the average number of working days lost due to a single worm is reduced from three weeks or more to three days. In the field, the procedure results not only in a dramatic decrease in Guinea worm associated disability, but also in an improvement in detecting cases, and appears to reduce disease transmission.