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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
January 9, 2013

Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis—January 2011- June 2012

JAMA. 2013;309(2):129-132. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.64610

MMWR. 2012;42:854-857.

1 table omitted. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm6142.pdf.

Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease) is caused by Dracunculus medinensis, a parasitic worm. Approximately 1 year after initial infection from contaminated drinking water, the worm emerges through the skin of the infected person, usually on the lower limb. Pain and secondary bacterial wound infection can cause temporary or permanent disability that disrupts work and schooling for the entire family. In 1986, the World Health Assembly (WHA) called for dracunculiasis elimination1 and the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, supported by The Carter Center, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), CDC, and other partners, was coalesced to assist ministries of health of endemic countries in meeting this goal. At that time, an estimated 3.5 million cases occurred annually in 20 countries in Africa and Asia.1,2 This report updates published3,4 and previously unpublished surveillance data reported by ministries of health and describes progress toward global dracunculiasis eradication. In 2011, a total of 1,058 cases were reported. As of 2012, dracunculiasis remained endemic in only four countries. Through June 2012, worldwide reductions in reported cases continued, compared with the first 6 months of 2011. Failures in surveillance and containment, lack of clean drinking water, and insecurity in Mali and parts of South Sudan continue to challenge dracunculiasis eradication efforts.