AfricaHealth

Guinea Worm Poised to Be the Second Human Disease Eradicated

africanews– Just over two dozen people in the world are infected with Guinea worm, as per a new report that says community programs are close to eradicating the disease in which a meter-long worm slowly emerges from a blister in a person’s skin.

Adam Weiss, the director of the United States-based Carter Center, which leads the eradication campaign, says things are looking up.

“Director of the Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program”We’re reporting a 50% reduction in human cases, down to only 27 people in the world last year that had Guinea worm. And that’s compared to in 1986 when there were 3.5 million people annually reporting Guinea worm disease across about 21 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in the Middle East and in Asia.”

The centre also reported that animal infections also showed a 20% decline.

The Pandemic is Another Pest

The reduction in cases is welcome in the health community as the COVID-19 pandemic weighs on the world — impacting all sectors at all levels of life.

Despite cuts to many programs around the globe, The Carter Center said its program remained up to 95% operational. Weiss outlines the activity.

“This is a community-based program, and so the volunteers have remained active throughout the entire pandemic. Of course, it has complicated logistics and supply chains. It’s made it difficult to move international and expatriate staff to provide greater technical assistance. It has reduced our ability to undertake some research activities, but we remain more than 95 per cent operational throughout the entire pandemic.”

Soon to Be No More

According to The Carter Center. Guinea worm is poised to be the second human disease to be eradicated after smallpox as more people are trained to filter and drink clean water — as it is unlike other diseases controlled by medicines or vaccines,

The World Health Organization warns that the remaining cases can be the most difficult to control as they usually occur in remote and often inaccessible areas.

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