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Fighting Disease

A single isolated case of Guinea worm disease was discovered in April 2018 in Angola, a country where the disease had never been detected before. Public health experts are seeking explanations for the parasite’s surprising appearance more than 1,000 miles from the nearest other cases. A second case in a different town was identified in early 2019.

+Eliminating Guinea Worm Disease

Current status: Pending
Indigenous cases reported in 2018: 1*
Animal infections reported in 2018: 0

Current Guinea worm case reports >

In April 2018, an 8-year-old girl with an emerging Guinea worm was reported in Cunene province in south-central Angola, near the border with Namibia. No case of Guinea worm disease had ever been reported from Angola, including during colonial times. According to the World Health Organization, the girl’s worm was detected during training for a national campaign against measles, rubella, and polio. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the specimen was a Guinea worm. The patient had never traveled outside of her home village and immediate area of Angola, and no other recent or historical cases were found during an investigation by Angola Ministry of Health authorities assisted by the local office of the WHO. A team of international Guinea worm experts, including The Carter Center, commenced an investigation in August 2018; no conclusive answers have yet emerged.

In January 2019, a 48-year-old woman in a different town in the same province reported a worm emerging from her leg; that worm was confirmed to be a Guinea worm.

In February 2019, Angola President Joao Lourenco accepted former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s offer for The Carter Center to assist his country in Guinea Worm eradication efforts. The Center is in the process of establishing operations there.

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