Guinea worm eradication effort enters ‘most difficult’ phase

25 January 2023
2023-01-25 12:16

The Carter Center said Tuesday that only 13 human cases of Guinea worm disease were reported worldwide last year. But after decades of progress, the eradication program's director cautioned the end phase of the global effort to eradicate the parasitic disease will be "the most difficult."

The Atlanta-based center founded by President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, said the remaining infections occurred in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Adam Weiss, The Carter Center said "It's really been a long journey since those early days when there were three and a half million people annually infected with Guinea worm disease.

So it's a huge feat to now be reporting only 13 infections. That's a long way from three and a half million. But certainly, as we were talking earlier, the last mile is the most difficult. It's going to be cases occurring in communities that are the most difficult to access, oftentimes inaccessibility ofsafe water, and inaccessibility of basic infrastructure or health care.

And oftentimes in populations that are very much marginalized within their own countries." Six human cases were reported in Chad, five in South Sudan, one in Ethiopia, and one in the Central African Republic, which remains under investigation.That's a significant drop from when Carter began leading the global eradication effort in 1986, when the disease infected 3.5 million people.

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