ATLANTA — South Sudan has gone 15 months without a single reported case of Guinea worm disease, the nation’s health minister said Wednesday, suggesting a major victory for global health officials trying to eliminate the painful affliction.
The Carter Center, a leader in global eradication efforts, said only one case of Guinea worm has been reported so far in 2018 in Chad, but cautioned that those numbers were preliminary and would likely rise. The center said 30 cases were reported last year in isolated areas of Ethiopia and Chad, a real achievement for efforts to eradicate a disease that only 30 years ago affected 3.5 million people a year in 21 countries across Africa and Asia.
Contracted by drinking infected water, Guinea worm disease affects some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The 3-foot-long worm is
asymptomatic and incubates in people for up to a year before painfully emerging.