Progress toward global eradication of dracunculiasis--January 2013-June 2014.
Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease) is caused by Dracunculus medinensis, a parasitic worm. Approximately 1 year after a person acquires infection from contaminated drinking water, the worm will emerge through the skin, usually on the lower limb. Pain and secondary bacterial infection can cause temporary or permanent disability that disrupts work and schooling. In 1986, the World Health Assembly called for dracunculiasis elimination. The global Guinea Worm Eradication Program, supported by The Carter Center, World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, CDC, and other partners, began assisting ministries of health of countries in which dracunculiasis is endemic in meeting this goal. At that time, an estimated 3.5 million cases occurred each year in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. This report updates published (3-5) and unpublished surveillance data reported by ministries of health and describes progress toward dracunculiasis eradication. A total of 148 cases were reported in 2013 from five countries (in order of prevalence: South Sudan, Chad, Mali, Ethiopia, and Sudan) compared with 542 cases in 2012 from four countries (South Sudan, Chad, Mali, and Ethiopia). The disease remains endemic in four countries in 2014 (South Sudan, Chad, Mali, and Ethiopia), but the overall incidence is falling faster in 2013 compared with 2012 (by 73%) and continues to fall faster in the first 6 months of 2014 (by 71%) compared with the same period in 2013. Failures in surveillance and containment, lack of clean drinking water, insecurity in Mali and parts of South Sudan, and an unusual epidemiologic pattern in Chad are the main remaining challenges to dracunculiasis eradication.