Cases of dracunculiasis continue to drop in South Sudan

Geneva, Switzerland
4 December 2013

Eradication effort has improved the school attendance of children.

Strong political will, increased vector control measures, tighter surveillance and prompt reporting have contributed to reaching the lowest number of guinea-worm disease cases in South Sudan - the hotspot of transmission over the past few years.

Only 10 cases were reported from there in September 2013, bringing to a total of 108 reported cases in South Sudan since 1 January 2013. During the same period in 2012, 502 cases were reported in South Sudan.

A global total of 129 cases have been reported from January to September 2013. This includes 128 cases reported from the four currently endemic countries: Chad, Ethiopia, Mali and South Sudan. One case was reported in Sudan in July 2013, near the border with South Sudan.

The case in Sudan was discovered during a house to house dracunculiasis search carried out along with the polio immunization campaign in July 2013. Sample of worm was confirmed by the WHO Collaborating Center at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Investigation has revealed that the infected individual did not travel out of Sudan.

The area from where the case was reported was inaccessible for a long time to both WHO staff and the national authorities due to flooding, inaccessible roads and also because of security concerns.

Now that flood waters have receded, WHO is facilitating the visit of a national team to the area.

Prior to this, the last case reported in Sudan was in 2007.