Dracunculiasis: more than 50% drop in reported cases during first half of 2012

During the first six months of 2012, 81% of the total cases in South Sudan were reported from Kapoeta East.

In 2011, 67% (6/9) of the payams of Kapoeta East county had reported cases a case containment rate of below 80%.

Of the 109 endemic villages in Kapoeta East only 6% have access to safe water sources in 2011.

“A combination of factors, including lack of access to improved drinking water, challenges in surveillance and case containment measures are behind the continued transmission of cases in South Sudan” said Dr Gautam Biswas, Team Leader, WHO guinea-worm eradication. “Transmission is also occurring because of a mobile population and periodic insecurity resulting in lack of access to endemic areas. These have resulted in certain foci reporting a relatively high number of cases”.

As the number of cases continues to decrease, WHO is advocating for heightened surveillance to fully contain the remaining cases and interrupt transmission of the disease.

Even in countries recently free of transmission, surveillance continues as part of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response programme. A strategic use of the polio surveillance network is also being made in these countries.

With the exception of South Sudan, all endemic and countries in the pre-certification stage have now announced a financial reward for the voluntary reporting of cases that eventually get confirmed.

*provisonal up to 30 June 2012

There were 892 055 cases of dracunculiasis in 1989 and an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986.