The tiny number of cases, down from 15 the previous year, is the result of more than four decades of global efforts to stamp out the parasitic disease by mobilising communities and improving drinking water quality in transmission hotspots.
If those efforts ultimately prove successful, guinea worm will not only be the second disease in history to be eradicated, after smallpox, it will be the first to be wiped out without a vaccine or medicine.
“Our partners, especially those in the affected villages, work with us daily to rid the world of this scourge. We are heartened that eradication can be achieved soon,” said Jimmy Carter, the former US president who co-founded the Carter Center in 1982.
When the centre took on leadership of the global eradication programme in 1986, about 3.5 million human cases were recorded annually in 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Pakistan, India and Uganda are among the countries that have eradicated it. Last year the Democratic Republic of the Congo joined the list.