Kenya has officially been declared free of Guinea worm disease. The announcement was made by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization following the recommendation of the International Commission for the Certification of the Dracunculiasis Eradication (ICCDE), at its 12th meeting in Geneva from 15 – 16 February 2018.
The declaration was made after experts certified that there is no proof of the spread of the disease in the country during the past three years. Kenya becomes the 41st country in the WHO African Region to be certified free of Guinea Worm Disease (GWD).
Guinea-worm disease, or dracunculiasis, is a crippling parasitic disease caused by Dracunculus medinensis - a long, thread-like worm. It is transmitted exclusively when people drink stagnant water contaminated with parasite-infected water fleas. Once inside the body, the larvae can mature into worms that grow up to 1 metre in length.
With this certification of Kenya, 6 countries remain to be declared free of Guinea worm disease in the WHO African Region: Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, South Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia.