Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Progress Toward Eradication of Dracunculiasis — Worldwide, January 2022–June
The effort to eradicate Dracunculus medinensis, the etiologic agent of dracunculiasis, or Guinea worm disease, commenced at CDC in 1980. In 1986, with an estimated 3.5 million cases worldwide in 20 African and Asian countries, the World Health Assembly called for dracunculiasis elimination. The Guinea Worm Eradication Program (GWEP) was established to help countries with endemic dracunculiasis reach this goal. GWEP is led by The Carter Center and supported by partners that include the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and CDC. In 2012, D. medinensis infections were unexpectedly confirmed in Chadian dogs, and since then, infections in dogs, cats, and baboons have posed a new challenge for GWEP, as have ongoing civil unrest and insecurity in some areas. By 2022, dracunculiasis was endemic in five countries (Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, and South Sudan), with only 13 human cases identified, the lowest yearly total ever reported. Animal infections, however, were not declining at the same rate: 686 animal infections were reported in 2022, including 606 (88%) in dogs in Chad. Despite these unanticipated challenges as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, countries appear close to reaching the eradication goal. GWEP will continue working with country programs to address animal infections, civil unrest, and insecurity, that challenge the eradication of Guinea worm.