10 facts on guinea-worm disease

October 2011

Woman carrying a water container on her head accompanied by a young boy.
WHO

A painful and debilitating disease – dracunculiasis, commonly known as guinea-worm disease – is on the verge of eradication due to a highly focused international public health initiative that uses inexpensive, practical interventions in target areas.

In the mid 1980s, the parasitic infection was widespread in 20 countries worldwide, 16 of which were in Africa, with more than 3.5 million people infected. In 2010, fewer than 1800 cases were reported.

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