Is Dracunculiasis Contagious?
Transmission of Dracunculiasis from Person to Person
Dracunculiasis is considered infectious but is not transmitted from person to person.
Generally, a disease like this is caused by an infectious agent and not spread between people.
Dracunculiasis, although infectious, is not a genetic disease. It is not caused by a defective or abnormal gene.
Transmission of Dracunculiasis
Transmission of Dracunculiasis to a person can be by way of:
- water borne pathogens.
- protozoan infections.
Discussion about Contagion of Dracunculiasis:
Dracunculiasis: DPD (Excerpt)
People get infected with Guinea worm disease by drinking water contaminated with
Dracunculus larvae. In the water, the larvae are swallowed by small copepods "water fleas."
The worms mature inside the water flea and become infective in about 10 days. Once the worms
have matured inside the water flea, any person who swallows contaminated water becomes
Once inside the body, the stomach acid digests the water flea, but not the Guinea worm. During
the next year, the Guinea worm grows to full size adult. Adult worms are up to 3 feet long and
are as wide as a spaghetti noodle.
After a year, the worm will migrate to the surface of the body. As the worm migrates, a blister
develops on the skin where the worm will emerge. This blister will eventually rupture, causing a
very painful burning sensation. For relief, persons will immerse the affected skin into water.
The temperature change causes the blister to erupt, exposing the worm. When someone with a
Guinea worm ulcer enters the water, the adult female emerges from the wound and releases a
milky white liquid containing millions of immature worms into the water, thus contaminating the
water supply. For several days after it has emerged from the ulcer, the female Guinea worm
releases more immature worms when it comes in contact with water. (Source: excerpt from Dracunculiasis: DPD)
Facts About Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease): CDC-OC (Excerpt)
When a person with a Guinea worm ulcer enters water (e.g., a pond),
the adult female worm emerges from the wound and releases a milky white
liquid containing thousands of immature worms into the water. In the
water, these microscopic worms are swallowed by small copepods (water
fleas). About 10 days after the water flea ingests them, the water fleas
become infective to anyone who swallows them. Once swallowed, stomach
acid digests the water flea, but not the Guinea worm. The Guinea worm
then grows to adulthood, a process that takes about a year.
(Source: excerpt from Facts About Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease): CDC-OC)
About contagion and contagiousness:
Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily
the spread of Dracunculiasis is possible from one person to another.
Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness",
"transmission" or "transmissability".
Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics
or inheriting diseases from parents.
For an overview of contagion,
see Introduction to Contagion.