(From a serpent). Guinea worms; called also capillares vermiculi, tape worm, and solitary worm. The Arabians call it Me-dinensis, vel medena vena. They styled it vena, because they doubted it being a living animal, and Medi-nensis from the frequency of its appearance at Medina. Hence Avicenna treats of it among abscesses. Le Clerc and many others mistake them for the bovina affectio; but AEtius separates, and Albucasis distinguishes them with great care.
Dr. Freind thinks that .AEtius first gave an account of these worms; but Plutarch quotes Agartharchides on this subject long before ..AEtius. Plutarch calls them
They are common in both the Indies, in most parts of Africa, occasionally in Genoa, and other hot coun-tries.
"These worms resemble the common worm, but are often much larger; commonly found in the legs, but sometimes in the muscular part of the arms. They are bred in Ethiopia and India, principally affecting children; and their generation is not unlike that of the broad worms of the belly; hence their name tare
4E 2 worm. While they move under the skin they create no trouble; but in length of time the place near the dracunculus suppurates, and the animal puts forth its head. If it be drawn, it excites considerable uneasiness, especially if drawn so forcibly as to break it; for the part left within creates intolerable pain."(AEtius in Tetrabib. 4. serm. 2. cap. 85.) Paulus .AEgineta mentions them as being always seated in the muscular parts of the thighs, legs, and arms; and he says, that sometimes they are met with in the sides of children. Avicenna observes, that these worms are from ten to fifteen palms long. Albucasis mentions one of twenty palms. In the sixth vol. of the Edinb. Med. Essays, mention is made of one that was three yards and a half in length.
In some instances, besides the pain which these worms occasion, a fever is also a consequence.
Kempfer observes, that these worms prevail most when the weather is hottest; and he attributes their production to drinking stagnant rain water. Dr. Towne. in his Treatise of the Diseases of the West Indies, properly describes this worm as being long, white, round, and resembling round tape or bobbin-.
Nothing is necessary until a tumour comes on; and then the best method is to promote suppuration: as soon as the tumour is open, the head of the worm appears, •which, being tied by a thread, may be secured on a roll of linen spread with sticking plaster, and as the worm appears, it may be rolled round this linen, until the whole is extracted; after which, the treatment is in no respect uncommon. During the time that this worm is drawing out, the greatest care is necessary that it may not be broken, for the consequence of such an accident is tedious ulcers in the whole length of the limb which contains the remaining part. A daily use of aloes, or of any other anthelmintic, during the extraction of the worm, is supposed to hasten its expulsion.