Dracunculiasis surveillance programmes respond strongly to rumours, while cases plummet
15 February 2016 | Geneva −− In 1986, an estimated 3.5 million cases were reported to WHO. In 1989, 15 out of endemic 20 countries 1 reported 892 955 cases (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Togo, Uganda and Yemen).
Through the combined effort of affected countries’ National Guinea worm Eradication Programmes and different stakeholders including the The Carter Center, UNICEF World Health Organization and supported by many donors, the number of cases and affected countries reduced dramatically in 2015.
In 2015, the disease was confined to 4 countries: Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and South Sudan. By the end of December 2015, a total of 22 cases were reported, a reduction of 83% compared with the 126 cases reported for the same period in 2014. In 2015, Chad reported 9 cases, or 41% of the global total cases. The remaining cases in 2015 were reported from Ethiopia (3 cases), Mali (5 cases) and South Sudan (5 cases).
South Sudan and Mali contributed greatly to the reduction in the number of cases in 2015 (93% and 88% reduction respectively) compared with the number of cases reported in those two countries in 2014.
Some 38% of cases were contained during 2015; the number of villages reporting cases declined to only 20 villages compared with 54 villages in 2014.
During 2015, more than 20 000 rumours were reported, of which 87% were investigated within 24 hours. The 4 pre-certification stage countries are accelerating their activities on increasing awareness of the disease and the reward for voluntary reporting of cases to the health facility.
By the end of 2015, WHO had certified 198 countries, territories and areas (belonging to 186 Member States) as free of dracunculiasis transmission, upon the recommendation of the International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication to the WHO Director-General.
1 Until South Sudan gained its independence on 9 July 2011, it was part of Sudan; thus, between the 1980s and 2011, 20 countries were endemic for the disease.