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Background: The objective of this study was to document the worldwide decline of dracunculiasis (Guinea worm disease, GWD) burden, expressed as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), from 1990 to 2016, as estimated in the Global Burden of Disease study 2016 (GBD 2016). While the annual number of cases of GWD have been consistently reported by WHO since the 1990s, the burden of disability due to GWD has not previously been quantified in GBD. Methods: The incidence of GWD was modeled for each endemic country using annual national case reports. A literature search was conducted to characterize the presentation of GWD, translate the clinical symptoms into health sequelae, and then assign an average duration to the infection. Prevalence measures by sequelae were multiplied by disability weights to estimate DALYs. Results: The total DALYs attributed to GWD across all endemic countries (n=21) in 1990 was 50,725 (95% UI: 35,265-69,197) and decreased to 0.9 (95% UI: 0.5-1.4) in 2016. A cumulative total of 12,900 DALYs were attributable to GWD from 1990 to 2016. Conclusions: Using 1990 estimates of burden propagated forward, this analysis suggests that between 990,000 to 1.9 million DALYs have been averted as a result of the eradication program over the past 27 years.

Original publication




Journal article


Gates Open Res

Publication Date





DALYs, GBD, Global burden of disease, Guinea Worm, NTDs, disability adjusted life years, dracunculiasis, eradication, neglected tropical diseases, prevalence