Challenges Remain For Guinea Worm Disease Eradication Efforts

The Lancet: Guinea worm disease eradication: a moving target
Editorial Board

“Deadlines for the eradication of Guinea worm disease have come and gone without success. The first deadline was set in 1991 … This target was not met, so a second 2009 deadline was set; this too was not met. After an additional failed deadline in 2015, a new date of eradication has been scheduled for 2020. However, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Carter Center … puts even this new target in question. … As surveillance and detection continue to evolve to track the changing epidemiology, additional challenges stymie the goal of eradicating Guinea worm disease. In most settings where the parasite circulates, ongoing or sporadic conflict and considerable migration facilitate transmission and challenge surveillance. Still, progress has been remarkable using simple but effective public health methods. The employment of these measures must continue. Eradication of Guinea worm disease is a noble goal, but the added challenges and complexities now facing the program suggest that this aim is, at best, many years away. At worst, it is simply a pipe dream” (3/30).