Thirty-seven unusual specimens, three from Ethiopia and 34 from South Sudan, were submitted since 2012 for further identification by the Ethiopian Dracunculiasis Eradication Program (EDEP) and the South Sudan Guinea Worm Eradication Program (SSGWEP), respectively. Although the majority of specimens emerged from sores or breaks in the skin, there was concern that they did not represent bona fide cases of Dracunculus medinensis and that they needed detailed examination and identification as provided by the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC) at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All 37 specimens were identified on microscopic study as larval tapeworms of the spargana type, and DNA sequence analysis of seven confirmed the identification of Spirometra sp. Age of cases ranged between 7 and 70 years (mean 25 years); 21 (57%) patients were male and 16 were female. The presence of spargana in open skin lesions is somewhat atypical, but does confirm the fact that populations living in these remote areas are either ingesting infected copepods in unsafe drinking water or, more likely, eating poorly cooked paratenic hosts harboring the parasite.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases