Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Significant Reduction in Human Cases: Human dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease) cases decreased to 15 in 2021 and three in the first half of 2022, continuing the decline from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986.
  2. Challenges in Animal Infections: The emergence of Guinea worm infections in dogs and other animals surpassed human cases, with 863 animal infections in 2021 and 296 in the first half of 2022.
  3. Endemic Countries: As of November 2022, dracunculiasis remains endemic in five countries: Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, and South Sudan.
  4. Impact of Civil Unrest and Security Issues: Civil unrest and insecurity in Mali and South Sudan pose significant challenges to eradication efforts.
  5. Ongoing Eradication Efforts: The Guinea Worm Eradication Program (GWEP), led by The Carter Center with support from WHO, UNICEF, and CDC, continues its efforts despite challenges, progressing towards the goal of eradication.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Vitaliano A. Cama, Email: , Phone: 404-718-4131.

Suggested Citation

Hopkins DR, Weiss AJ, Yerian S, Sapp SG, Cama VA. Progress Toward Global Eradication of Dracunculiasis — Worldwide, January 2021–June 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1496–1502. DOI: .


Dracunculiasis, caused by the parasite Dracunculus medinensis, is transmitted through contaminated water and potentially through consumption of certain aquatic animals. With no vaccine or medicine available, eradication relies on case containment and preventive measures. Significant progress has been made since the initiation of worldwide eradication efforts in 1980, with a marked decrease in human cases.


The GWEP involves health education, water filtration, treatment of unsafe water, and provision of safe drinking water. Monthly case reports are collected from villages under active surveillance. WHO certifies a country as dracunculiasis-free after three consecutive years with no indigenous human cases or animal infections.


The decrease in human cases is a positive indicator of eradication efforts. However, the rise in animal infections, particularly in dogs, presents new challenges. The program’s effectiveness is also hampered by issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and insecurity in some endemic countries.


With the lowest number of human cases ever reported and ongoing efforts to manage animal infections and other challenges, the global eradication of dracunculiasis appears increasingly achievable. Maintaining and adapting current strategies, while addressing security and civil unrest issues, are crucial for the success of the eradication program.



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