Seven People infected by Guinea Worm in Western Ethiopia

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia has recorded seven suspected new human cases of guinea-worm disease (dracunculiasis) this month after reporting zero cases for the past two years.

The outbreak occurred in the western province of the country, Gambella Regional State. The entire seven cases are from Gog district, announced the region’s Health Bureau.

Dracunculiasis is a crippling parasitic disease caused by infection with D. medinensis, a long, thread-like worm.

It is usually transmitted when people drink stagnant water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas.

Officials claim complacency could be the main reason for the reappearance of the disease, which has not been recorded in Ethiopia for at least 27 months.

Kan Gatluak, health bureau chief, said people were now heeding advise to deworm their water despite the disease has been affecting animals for a while, according to FBC.

He said his bureau will continue to work on raising awareness about disease while abating ponds that have infective Guinea worm larvae in it.

World Health Organization’s Officials said the infected people used water from farm side-ponds.

Suspected cases were also detected from Dulli farm side village and two other villages namely – Metaget Dipach and Wadmaro in Gog Dipach Kebele.

Since Ethiopia established its national dracunculiasis eradication program in 1994 considerable progress has been made to reduce the number of human cases, with most of them focused in Gambella.

For the past decade, the region consistently reported low-level transmission, including few infections in animals.

Image: Guinea worm life cycle