News Alert: Gambella sees new Guinea Worm Disease outbreak

Kan Gatlowak, Gambella region’s health bureau head

Etenesh Abera @EteneshAb

Addis Abeba, April 28/2020 – Gambella Regional State press secretariat office said there has been a re-emergence of Guinea Worm Disease (GWD) outbreak in Gog Wereda, Gog Dipach Kebele, in Dule sub district of the regional state. Seven people are infected by GWD in this area so far.

According to Kan Gatlowak, Gambella region’s health bureau head, the region has been working hard to see the eventual eradication of the disease, such as abating of ponds, providing potable water to remote areas as well as providing community awareness raising programs. Subsequently, for more than twenty seven months there has not been known cases on humans, the office said, although the disease has been affecting domestic and wild animals such as dogs and baboons.

The office said despite coordinated continuous works there is lack of seriousness among communities when it comes to taking preventative measures. According to World Health Organization (WHO) GWD is caused by “drinking water containing water fleas that have ingested Dracunculus larvae.”

The Ethiopian Ministry of Health, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, and Gambella region’s health bureau are working with the Carter Center to contain the spread as early as possible, the region’s press office quoted Argaw Lamesgin, Carter Center GWD eradication program manager.

WHO recognizes Ethiopia as one of the four Guinea Worm endemic countries. The other three are Chad, South Sudan and Mali. Gambella region is the only endemic region in the country for Guinea Worm Disease, according to WHO.

The last known New Guinea Worm Case in Ethiopia was confirmed in 2016 when three human cases, 14 dogs and 2 baboon infections were reported in Gambella regional state. AS

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