Dracunculiasis eradication - Finishing the job before surprises arise

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Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease) is a preventable waterborne parasitic disease that affects the poorest people living in remote mad areas in sub-Saharan African countries, who do not have access to safe drinking water. The Guinea Worm Eradication Program, a 25-year old campaign to rid the world of Guinea Worm disease has now reached its final stage accelerating to zero cases in all endemic countries. During the 19th and 20th centuries, dracunculiasis was common in much of Southern Asia and the African continent. The overall number of cases has been reduced tremendously by >= 99%. from the 3.32 million cases estimated to have occurred in 1986 in Africa to only 1 797 cases reported in 2010 reported in only five countries (Sudan, Mali, Ethiopia, Chad and Ghana) and Asia free of the disease. This achievement is unique in its kind - the only previously eradicated disease is smallpox, a viral infection for which vaccination was possible - and it has been achieved through primary community based prevention and health education programs. Most efforts need to be taken in two countries, South Sudan (comprising 94% or 1 698 out of 1 797 of the cases reported world-wide he in 2010) and Mali because of frequent movements of nomads in a vast area inside and outside Mali's borders. All factors favourable to dracunculiasis eradication are available including adequate financial resources, community and political support and high levels of advocacy. Thus there is no reason that this disabling parasitic disease cannot be eradicated soon before surprises arise such as new civil conflicts in currently endemic countries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian pacific journal of tropical medicine
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2012


  • Dracunculiasis
  • Guinea worn disease
  • Eradication


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