Global & Disaster Medicine

The long road to eradicating Guinea worm just got a whole lot longer now that WHO is faced with evidence of previously unknown routes of transmission and so, it has quietly pushed back the target date for stamping out the disease from 2020 to 2030.


“……An international partnership — led by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia — has reduced the number of new infections from 3.5 million per year in 1986 to just 28 in 2018. And the disease, once prevalent across Africa and Asia, has been limited to a handful of nations in Central Africa.

But a series of puzzling discoveries has made it impossible to meet the 2020 target. The most urgent issue is the soaring, and as yet unexplained, rate of infections among dogs in Chad — which has helped to keep Guinea worm circulating in the environment. Then there are the emergence of the first known cases among people in Angola, perplexing infections in baboons in Ethiopia, and conflicts that have hampered eradication efforts in parts of Mali, Sudan and South Sudan. Some public-health experts wonder whether wiping out the parasite is even possible……”

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