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close this bookWHO Recommended Surveillance Standards (WHO; 1999; 157 pages)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentAcronyms
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentNational Coordination of Communicable Disease Surveillance
View the documentExplanatory notes
View the documentSurveillance activities: criteria and WHO Department
View the documentCommunicable disease contacts in Regional Offices
close this folderDiseases
View the documentB20-B21-B22-B23-B24 AIDS
View the documentA22 Anthrax
View the documentA23 Brucellosis
View the documentA00 Cholera
View the documentA81.0 Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
View the documentA90, A91 Dengue fever (A90) including Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) & Dengue shock syndrome (DSS, A91)
View the documentA36 Diphtheria
View the documentB72 Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease)
View the documentA98.3, A98.4 Ebola-Marburg viral diseases
View the documentA83.0 Japanese encephalitis
View the documentB74 Lymphatic filariasis
View the documentB96.3 Haemophilus influenzae type b
View the documentB15-B17 Acute viral hepatitis
View the documentB20-B24 HIV infection
View the documentJ10, J11 Influenza
View the documentA96.2 Lassa fever
View the documentA48.1 Legionellosis
View the documentB55.1, B55.2 Cutaneous leishmaniasis
View the documentLeishmania / HIV co-infections
View the documentB55.0 Visceral leishmaniasis
View the documentA30 Leprosy
View the documentA27 Leptospirosis
View the documentB50-54 Malaria
View the documentB05 Measles
View the documentA39 Meningococcal disease
View the documentA87 Viral meningitis
View the documentB73 Onchocerciasis
View the documentA37.0 Pertussis
View the documentA20 Plague
View the documentA36 Poliomyelitis
View the documentA82 Rabies
View the documentA02.0 Salmonellosis
View the documentB65 Schistosomiasis
View the documentA50-52 Syphilis
View the documentA33 Tetanus, neonatal
View the documentB56-0, B56-1 African trypanosomiasis
View the documentB57 American trypanosomiasis
View the documentA15-A19 Tuberculosis
View the documentA75.3 Scrub typhus
View the documentA95.9 Yellow fever
open this folder and view contentsSyndromes
View the documentAnnex 1 Software free and in the public domain
View the documentAnnex 2 Proposed surveillance definitions
View the documentAnnex 3 Role and use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mapping for epidemiological surveillance

B72 Dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease)


Dracunculiasis is the subject of a global eradication programme (9GPW, target 6.1). Surveillance is therefore essential to identify and contain all individual cases in endemic countries as well as in countries where environmental conditions are appropriate for local transmission of the disease.


Clinical case definition

A case of dracunculiasis is defined as an individual exhibiting or having a history of a skin lesion with the emergence of a Guinea worm. A recent history (within one year) of a skin lesion with emergence of a Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis) is the only time-frame which must be used in surveillance programmes.


Peripheral level: In all endemic and formerly endemic countries, village-based surveillance aims to detect cases while the worm is pre-emergent or at latest 24 hours after the beginning of worm emergence, even in the most remote local villages. Community-oriented case-containment interventions are combined with surveillance to interrupt further transmission of the disease. The lack of previously trained health workers in very remote localities and the needs of health workers in newly identified endemic villages continue to make training an important activity.

Intermediate/central level: Reports (aggregated data) are gathered from all villages to intermediate level and channelled towards the central level on a monthly basis. This is generally combined with supervision activities at all levels of the national dracunculiasis eradication programmes. When the annual incidence is close to zero, cases should be reported on a weekly or even daily basis.

International level: Reports from endemic countries are aggregated and reported to the international level on a monthly basis, and used as a policy basis and for managerial decisions by central programmes, as well as by external supporting agencies.


Case-based data:

Unique identifier, sex, age, geographical coordinates of the village involved, date of diagnosis, case isolation measures taken.

Aggregated data:

For every village, number of cases by month and year.


Monthly and yearly incidence by village, geographic origin of imported cases.

Analysis of monthly and yearly changes in the distribution of infected villages.

Mapping of data including the matching of endemic villages with water distribution data, using geographical information system (GIS).



• Plan interventions and supervision at all levels of the programme
• Monitor progress and the need for resources of various types
• Identify variations in case-containment efficacy
• Identify technical and operational difficulties at all levels
• Identify areas needing special interventions, training and supervision
• Evaluate the impact of programme activities




Regional Offices

See Regional Communicable Disease contacts on section "Communicable disease contacts in Regional Offices".

Headquarters: 20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

Eradication and Elimination of Diseases (CEE/CDS)


Email zagarian@who.ch / Surveillancekit@who.ch
Tel: (4122) 791 2574/4373
Fax: (4122) 791 4777/0746 attn CEE
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