Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Dracunculiasis Workup

  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 01, 2016

Laboratory Studies

The following studies are indicated in dracunculiasis:

  • CBC count with differential: The WBC count is likely elevated, even if only slightly. The differential commonly indicates eosinophilia.
  • Serum immunoglobulin levels: Immunoglobulin E (IgE), immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), and immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) levels are usually elevated, with variability depending on the stage of disease. Patent infections (immediately following blister eruption but before ulcer formation) cause the greatest elevation of the 2 IgG subclasses, whereas both are relatively less elevated with postpatent (ulcerated) or prepatent (blister in formative stage) infections.

Imaging Studies

See the list below:

  • A radiologic examination (plain-film roentgenography) of the lower extremity may prove useful in the identification of calcified worms in the rare case when surgery is considered. Incidental identification of calcified lesions from dracunculiasis has also been reported after radiographic evaluation of a painful lower extremity.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA Professor, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center

Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Disclosure: Received honoraria from Pfizer Inc for speaking and teaching.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Martin Weisse, MD Program Director, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University

Martin Weisse, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Russell W Steele, MD Clinical Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine; Staff Physician, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

Russell W Steele, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Michael D Nissen, MBBS FRACP, FRCPA, Associate Professor in Biomolecular, Biomedical Science & Health, Griffith University; Director of Infectious Diseases and Unit Head of Queensland Paediatric Infectious Laboratory, Sir Albert Sakzewski Viral Research Centre, Royal Children's Hospital

Michael D Nissen, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, American Society for Microbiology, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of eMedicine gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author Shuvo Ghosh, MD, to the original writing and development of this article.

  1. Voelker R. Persistence pays off in Guinea worm fight. JAMA. 2007 Oct 24. 298(16):1856-7. [Medline].

  2. Voelker R. Global partners take two steps closer to eradication of Guinea worm disease. JAMA. 2011 Apr 27. 305(16):1642. [Medline].

  3. Barry M. The tail end of guinea worm - global eradication without a drug or a vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jun 21. 356(25):2561-4. [Medline].

  4. World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research, Training and Eradication of Dracunculiasis. Guinea worm wrap-up no. 204. US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC. 2011.

  5. Dracunculiasis: Epidemiology & Risk Factors. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at March 31, 2015; Accessed: February 2, 2016.

  6. Adewale B, Mafe MA, Sulyman MA. Impact of guinea worm disease on agricultural productivity in Owo local government area, Ondo state. West Afr J Med. 1997 May-Jun. 16(2):75-9. [Medline].

  7. Bimi L, Freeman AR, Eberhard ML, et al. Differentiating Dracunculus medinensis from D. insignis, by the sequence analysis of the 18S rRNA gene. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2005 Jul. 99(5):511-7. [Medline].

  8. Bloch P, Simonsen PE. Immunoepidemiology of Dracunculus medinensis infections I. Antibody responses in relation to infection status. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1998 Dec. 59(6):978-84. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  9. CDC. Progress toward global eradication of dracunculiasis, January 2004-July 2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Oct 28. 54(42):1075-7. [Medline].

  10. Greenaway C. Dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease). CMAJ. 2004 Feb 17. 170(4):495-500. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  11. Hopkins DR, Ruiz-Tiben E, Downs P, et al. Dracunculiasis eradication: the final inch. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2005 Oct. 73(4):669-75. [Medline].

  12. Hunter JM. An introduction to guinea worm on the eve of its departure: dracunculiasis transmission, health effects, ecology and control. Soc Sci Med. 1996 Nov. 43(9):1399-425. [Medline].

  13. Levinson WE, Jawetz E. Nematodes: Dracunculiasis. In: Medical Microbiology and Immunology. 1994. 285-286.

  14. Menon T. Incidental finding of Dracunculus medinensis in Australia. Med J Aust. 2005 Jul 4. 183(1):51-2. [Medline].

  15. Muller R. Guinea worm disease--the final chapter?. Trends Parasitol. 2005 Nov. 21(11):521-4. [Medline].

  16. Progress toward global eradication of dracunculiasis, January 2008-June 2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Oct 16. 58(40):1123-5. [Medline].

  17. WHO. Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) eradication. Wkly Epidemiol Rec. 2004 Apr 16. 79(16):154-5. [Medline].

  18. Jones AH, Becknell S, Withers PC, Ruiz-Tiben E, Hopkins DR, Stobbelaar D, et al. Logistics of Guinea worm disease eradication in South Sudan. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Mar. 90 (3):393-401. [Medline].

  19. Eberhard ML, Ruiz-Tiben E, Hopkins DR, Farrell C, Toe F, Weiss A, et al. The peculiar epidemiology of dracunculiasis in Chad. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Jan. 90 (1):61-70. [Medline].

A method used to extract a guinea worm from the leg vein of a human patient.
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.