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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.

+Eliminating Guinea Worm Disease

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

Current Guinea worm case reports >

Public health officials were astonished by the report in April 2018 of an 8-year-old girl with an emerging Guinea worm 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, and no case is known or alleged to have been imported from Angola to any other country, including during the Atlantic slave trade. According to the World Health Organization, the girl was detected in the village of Oluxua during a national immunization campaign against measles, rubella, and polio. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the specimen was a Guinea worm through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. The patient had never traveled outside of her home village and immediate area of Angola, her village is more than 1,000 miles from the nearest other known cases of Guinea worm disease, 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 six international Guinea worm experts, including the Carter Center’s Adam Weiss, commenced an investigation in August 2018; no conclusive answers have yet emerged.

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