Eradicating Dracunculiasis: The Carter Center Moves Closer to Defeating Guinea Worm Disease

  • A woman cares for her husband's foot at their home in Senwei Village, South Sudan..

    Village volunteer Cezerina Puru Ladu treats her husband, Garbino Kenyi, a farmer from Terekeka County, South Sudan, who suffered from Guinea worm disease. In 2020, South Sudan reported a single human case*. (Photo: The Carter Center/ L. Gubb)

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of human Guinea worm cases was cut in half to just 27* in 2020.

The 27 human cases of Guinea worm disease across six African countries mark a 50% decline from the number of cases reported in 2019. Guinea worm infections in animals fell 20% in the same period. When The Carter Center established itself as a pioneer in neglected tropical disease elimination by assuming leadership of the global Guinea Worm Eradication Program in 1986, about 3.5 million human cases occurred annually in 21 countries in Africa and Asia.

Today, the program and partners continue to wipe out disease, steadily reducing the number of cases, stopping transmission, and ensuring optimal surveillance and reporting. Learn more about this global campaign and meet front-line health workers in the stories below.

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What's the Difference Between Eradication, Elimination, and Control?

Eradication: Reduction of the worldwide incidence of a disease to zero so no further control measures are needed.

Elimination: Transmission of a disease is halted in a single country, continent, or other limited geographic area, rather than global eradication.

ControlReduced incidence or prevalence of a disease or condition; control measures are still required.

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