Pushing Guinea worm disease to elimination

Guinea worm disease is on the threshold of becoming the second disease to be eradicated in human history and would be the only disease to be eradicated without the use of drugs or vaccines.

The last mile of eliminating Guinea worm disease may prove to be the most difficult. Since 2015, the number of cases has fluctuated between 20 and 30, and the emergence of infections in dogs presents new challenges related to transmission and contamination of water sources. Achieving eradication of Guinea worm disease will require sustained commitment from donors and partners to bring the number of cases to zero.



remain endemic: Chad, South Sudan, Mali and Ethiopia



of Guinea worm disease reported in 2018



in the number of Guinea worm disease cases since 1985

Since 1986, The Carter Center has been leading an international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease. In 1990, the UAE’s late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan made a personal donation of US$ 5.77 million to The Carter Center’s efforts. Sheikh Zayed’s donation began a decades-long commitment by the UAE’s ruling family to disease eradication. Since 2012, the ruling family has donated an additional US$ 15 million to The Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program.


  • 80 million cases of Guinea worm disease prevented*
  • 23,000 African villages receiving health education and treatment
*Prevented by the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, administered by The Carter Center and funded in part by the UAE.

About Guinea worm disease

Guinea worm disease is a disease born of poverty that keeps its victims trapped in poverty. It can incapacitate people for months, leaving them unable to care for themselves, work, grow food for their families or attend school. While there is no medicine to prevent or cure Guinea worm disease, it can be stopped through community interventions and by filtering drinking water.

“We believe eradication of Guinea worm disease is very possible in the next few years, but success will require the strong commitment and focus of the four remaining endemic countries and the many international partners in this public health initiative.”

- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, founder of The Carter Center