Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis, January 2019–June 2020
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Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis, January 2019–June 2020

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    • Alternative Title:
      MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
    • Description:
      Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease) is caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis and is acquired by drinking water containing copepods (water fleas) infected with D. medinensis larvae. The worm typically emerges through the skin on a lower limb approximately 1 year after infection, resulting in pain and disability (1). There is no vaccine or medicine to treat the disease; eradication efforts rely on case containment* to prevent water contamination. Other interventions to prevent infection include health education, water filtration, chemical treatment of unsafe water with temephos (an organophosphate larvicide to kill copepods), and provision of safe drinking water (1,2). The Worldwide eradication campaign began in 1980 at CDC (1). In 1986, with an estimated 3.5 million cases| occurring each year in 20 African and Asian countries| (3), the World Health Assembly (WHA) called for dracunculiasis elimination (4). The global Guinea Worm Eradication Program (GWEP), led by the Carter Center and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund, CDC, and other partners, began assisting ministries of health in countries with dracunculiasis. This report, based on updated health ministry data (4), describes progress made during January 2019-June 2020 and updates previous reports (2,4,5). With only 54 human cases reported in 2019, 19 human cases reported during January 2019-June 2020, and only six countries currently affected by dracunculiasis (Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, South Sudan, and importations into Cameroon), the achievement of eradication is within reach, but it is challenged by civil unrest, insecurity, and lingering epidemiologic and zoologic concerns, including 2,000 reported animal cases in 2019 and 1,063 animal cases in 2020, mostly in dogs. All national GWEPs remain fully operational, with precautions taken to ensure safety of program staff members and community members in response to the coronaVirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
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