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Wiping Out Guinea Worm Disease

  • Nuru Ziblim (right), a Guinea worm health volunteer in Ghana, teaches children how to use straw-like pipe filters, allowing them to drink water from any source without fear of contracting the waterborne parasite. In 2015, Ghana was certified by the World Health Organization as Guinea worm-free. (Photo: The Carter Center/ L. Gubb)

In 1986, Guinea worm disease afflicted an estimated 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, thanks to the work of The Carter Center and its partners — including the countries themselves — the incidence of Guinea worm has been reduced by more than 99.99 percent.

In 2016, only three countries — Chad, Ethiopia, and South Sudan  reported a total of 25 human cases of Guinea worm disease, and Mali reported no cases at all for the first time in the history of its program. 

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What's the Difference Between Eradication and Elimination?

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.

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