Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Sucks…Guinea Worms Disease; A What Sucks Classic


Sometimes when something sucks, one just has to list certain facts about it to make the case about how much it blows. Like Chad Kroeger is the main song writer for Nickelback, or, the highest point of elevation on Staten Island is a garbage dump, or that George Lopez is Mexican (kidding! Seriously, that was a joke!)

The same can be said for Guinea Worm Disease, or as it is also known by fancy scientists, dracunculiasis, or by simple folks who are terrorized by it, the “fiery serpent” disease. Here are some of those facts…

Fact 1: The victim is infected when he/ she drinks contaminated water that contains a tiny water flea that itself is infected by an even tinier guinea worm. The worms mate in your intestinal walls and the females (the males die) continue to eat and grow inside you.

This is only fact 1. There are 3 other facts.

Fact 2: - The most common practice to treat this disease involves wrapping the worm around a stick as it boroughs its way out of your body through an open sore in your leg.

Fact 3: This “stick wrapping” process can take many days and up to a few weeks as worms can be as long as 3 feet oh and by the way, and if while wrapping the worm around the stick it should break, it could cause a fatal infection.

Fact 4: As the worm makes its way through the open sore on your skin, it causes a terrible burning sensation leading many to want to submerge their leg in some water. However, if a victim does this, the water serves as a signal to the worm to release its eggs, and thus contaminate what could be the entire water supply of a village by releasing millions of Guinea Worm larvae, which are then eaten by water fleas and, you know, then everyone gets the disease, circle of life, blah, blah, blah. PS- the water doesn’t solve anything- you still have to wrap the worm around a stick to get it out of your leg.

There are more facts but those are the highlights.

The person with dracunculiasis WISHES they had a tapeworm. They’d say- “Oh, if only this thing affecting me was a tape worm, this would be MUCH better.” They long for Elephantiasis. Gout would be like the greatest vacation they ever had.

Of course Guinea Worm disease mainly happens in Africa, a place vastly under-appreciated for sucking. Let’s face it, people there could die from this disease, get eaten by a lion or shot by a child soldier, and all live on the same block. Yeah, it’s beautiful, great landscapes- I know- but don’t kid yourself, they’d trade it all for a basement apartment in Buffalo in a second.
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