Graphic 14 - Life cycle of the guinea worm
Life cycle of the guinea worm
(This graphic depicts the life cycle of the disease in a circular format.)
• Guinea worm enters the body when people drink water containing cyclops. infected with the guinea worm larvae.
• Cyclops die in the stomach and release the guinea worm larvae to move through tissue in the intestines.
• Male and female worms mate after about three months. The male worm dies.
• After about eight months, the mature female worm moves toward the surface of the skin (usually the lower limbs).
• After about one year from the time the person drank the infected water, the worm is ready to emerge from the body. The infected person has felt no effects up to this time. A painful blister forms. Infected people try to relieve the pain by immersing the sore in the water.
• Contact with water causes the guinea worm to emit its larvae, recontaminating the water source and perpetuating the cycle of the disease.