News / Africa

Guinea Worm Close to Eradication

The World Health Organization reports it is very close to eradicating guinea worm, a crippling parasitic disease.  WHO says it needs $350 million to finish the job of ridding the world of this ancient, dreaded disease.  

Campaigners for the global eradication of guinea worm hope to succeed in their efforts to make the disease only the second one, after smallpox, to be completely wiped off the face of the Earth.  A global polio eradication campaign also is currently underway.  

The Coordinator of the Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization, Dirk Engels, says the goal of eradication is in sight.  

“When the campaign officially started at the end of the 1980s, there was still a few million cases, 3.5 million to be more accurate.  And, today, this year, up to now, there are only less than 1,000 cases left in four countries.  Most of them in the new Republic of South Sudan,” said Dr. Engels.

Guinea Worm Close to Eradication
Guinea Worm Close to Eradication

Ninety-seven percent of cases of guinea worm are in South Sudan.  The remaining three percent are to be found in Chad, Ethiopia and Mali.  

Guinea worm is a dreadful disease.  People get it by swallowing infected water fleas when drinking contaminated water.  The larvae from these infected water fleas grow to be one meter long.  They are usually housed in the legs, causing great disability.  The worm takes about one year to work its way out of the body.

There is no vaccine to prevent nor is there any medication to treat the disease.  But, prevention is possible.   Dr. Engels warns countries free of guinea worm must not become complacent.  Hesays people must remain vigilant because the disease can easily and quickly be re-introduced.

“I can give you the example of one case of a person in northern Mali, a pilgrim who was walking towards Algeria and was affected by the disease.  He stopped in a village, contaminated a water body and that has so far generated 400 cases in the next five years.  That is how fast it can go,” said Dr. Engels.  

Dr. Engels says the key to success in preventing and eradicating guinea worm includes very close and accurate community-based surveillance, spotting cases very early, bandaging wounds and picking up the worm before it can actually reach the water.

He says it is critical for people who have the disease to not go into the water, and for safe drinking water to be available to all communities.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid