Human, Animal Guinea Worm Numbers Improve in Chad

Seven countries reported finding Guinea worms in either humans or animals last year. Chad reported the highest numbers by far.

Chad reported a total of 1,102 Guinea worms in six humans and 606 animals across 270 villages in 2022. Those statistics sound high, but it’s actually good news: The numbers were down from 2021.

Chad reduced the number of villages with human or animal Guinea worm infections by 22%, the number of infected dogs by 32%, and the total number of Guinea worms by 27%.

  • A tethered dog in Chad.

    A dog in Chad is tethered to prevent the spread of Guinea worm disease. The number of human and animal cases of the disease in Chad dropped by 27% from 2021 to 2022.

In all affected countries, containment of infected animals — that is, keeping them away from water sources such as streams, ponds, and watering holes — is essential to interrupting transmission of the disease. Guinea worms that do not reach water do not reproduce. Chad contained 70% of its reported infected dogs and 65% of its infected cats in 2022.

Proactive tethering of all household animals, whether they are known to be infected or not, also helps keep the water safe. In 2022, Chad increased the number of villages enrolled in proactive tethering from 276 to 313, and a total of 26,853 dogs and cats were tethered. Of villages that reported a Guinea worm in the current or previous year, 78% participated in proactive tethering in 2022, and the country aims to reach 100% this year.

"The people in the villages are really open to the messaging delivered by team members from the Ministry of Health and The Carter Center regarding tethering dogs and cats," said Karmen Unterwegner, associate director of the Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program. "Continued improvement in this activity will help Chad keep the eradication effort moving through its last mile."

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