Health

Man Discovers He Lived With Guinea Worm In His Foot For Years

| by Sean Kelly

A Sudanese migrant living in Melbourne, Australia recently discovered that he had an African Guinea worm living in his foot for more than 4 years.

Doctors at a Sydney hospital discovered portions of the worm, which measured a little over 3 feet long when combined, “buried” in the back of the man’s ankle and at the front of his sole. According to the Daily Mail, the man went to doctors complaining of a swollen foot after he had been suffering from pain for a year. When doctors did an X-ray on the foot, they discovered pieces of the worm.

Dr. Jonathan Darby, an infectious diseases physician, said that the worm likely died in the man’s body and began to degenerate. Darby explained that worms enter the body through infected drinking water and eventually set themselves free, after a years-long process, through blisters on the skin. Symptoms are not noticed initially, but those infected with a worm begin to feel a burning sensation after about a year when the blister starts to form. A Guinea worm infection is known as Dracunculiasis, or guinea worm disease.

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“It can sit inside the human body alive for years or die, degenerate, and then cause problems in the area like it did for our patient,” Darby said. Symptoms of guinea worm disease often include nausea, diarrhea, hunger or loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, weakness and abdominal pain.

The man has reportedly made a full recovery after receiving surgery to remove the worm from his foot.

Source: The Daily Mail / Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk, Wikimedia Commons