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Update: International Task Force for Disease Eradication, 1992

In 1988, the International Task Force for Disease Eradication (ITFDE) was formed to systematically evaluate the potential for global eradicability * of candidate diseases, identify specific barriers to their eradication that might be surmountable, and promote eradication efforts. In its first four meetings during 1988-1991, the ITFDE examined 15 infectious diseases and determined that four -- dracunculiasis, poliomyelitis, mumps, and rubella -- are good candidates for eradication (1,2). In its fifth meeting in March 1992, the ITFDE evaluated the potential eradicability of six other diseases (Table 1). The criteria used by the ITFDE to evaluate these diseases was provided previously (2). This report summarizes the results of the fifth meeting.

Taeniasis / Cysticercosis. Taenia solium cysticercosis in humans and pigs is potentially eradicable, using interventions (mainly surveillance of pigs in foci of transmission and mass treatment of associated human populations). However, actual eradicability needs to be demonstrated in a sizable geographic area. This disease is endemic in areas of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Cholera. Cholera is not now eradicable, but improved control is possible by providing clean water, improved sanitation, and health education to populations at risk.

Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis). Chagas disease is not eradicable, but better control is possible using insecticides and improvements in housing in some areas, especially where Triatoma infestans is the primary vector.

Schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis is not now eradicable, but better control is possible, especially using mass chemotherapy of school-aged children in areas where the disease is endemic.

Ascariasis and hookworm disease. Neither ascariasis nor hookworm disease or infection is eradicable now, but both diseases could be better controlled using chemotherapy and hygienic interventions, especially among school-aged children.

Reported by: AA Arata, PhD, Vector Biology and Control Project, Arlington, Virginia. DR Hopkins, MD, E Ruiz-Tiben, PhD, Global 2000, Inc, Carter Center of Emory Univ, Atlanta. ZS Pawlowski, MD, Univ School of Medicine, Poznan, Poland. Div of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, and Div of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: The findings in this report indicate a need for greater recognition of the potential to eradicate cysticercosis caused by T. solium infection and for implementation of more control projects. A project is under way in Ghana to better control schistosomiasis, ascariasis, and hookworm disease by mass treatment and hygiene education of school-aged children.


  1. CDC. International Task Force for Disease Eradication. MMWR 1990;39:209-12,217.

  2. CDC. Update: International Task Force for Disease Eradication, 1990 and 1991. MMWR 1992;41:40-2.

    • Eradication is defined as achievement of a status whereby no further cases of a disease occur anywhere, and continued control measures are unnecessary.

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