Dracunculiasis

Dracunculiasis (also known as guinea worm disease) is a potentially disabling infection caused by Dracunculus medinensis (meaning "little worm from Medina").

The radiologic finding of a calcified guinea worm is common in endemic areas. 

In the vast majority of cases (one report cites 89%) patients who were found to have calcified guinea worms were asymptomatic.

Parasitology

Dracunculiasis was endemic to the Nile Valley, central and western Africa, India, Pakistan, Iran, and other parts of the Arabian peninsula. The number of new infections decrease year by year and by mid-2014, the number of new/active cases is only approximately 50.

Infection occurs with the ingestion of water contaminated with larvae, which eventually migrate to the subcutaneous tissues. There, the female larvae become mature worms, mate, and expel their larvae through the skin. If a female worm dies before reaching the skin surface, it may calcify within the subcutaneous tissues. Calcification is the usual fate of the male worm.

Plain radiograph

Typically the diagnosis is made on plain films, with linear irregular calcifications located in the soft tissue being the hallmark. 

General considerations include:

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Article Information

rID: 12218
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Guinea worm disease

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