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[afro-nets] Carter, U.N. To Meet On Guinea Worm Eradication In Africa

Carter, U.N. To Meet On Guinea Worm Eradication In Africa
UNICEF release Jan. 26

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are
expected on Monday to begin a five-day visit to Togo, Mali and
Ghana, where they will be joined by World Health Organization
Director General Lee Jong-wook and UNICEF Deputy Executive Di-
rector Kul Gautam in evaluating efforts to eliminate Guinea worm
disease in the region and around the world, UNICEF announced

The Carter
Center, along with UNICEF and WHO, has helped reduce the world-
wide number of cases of Guinea worm from 3.5 million in 1986 to
around 35,000 in 2003. About 25 percent of last year's cases
were in Ghana and 70 percent were in Sudan.

Guinea worm is a parasitic disease contracted when people con-
sume water that is contaminated by water fleas that carry infec-
tive larvae. Once inside the body, the larvae mature and grow to
as long as three feet. After a year, the worm slowly emerges
through blisters in the skin, usually on the lower limbs.

"Guinea worm disease is unfamiliar, even unimaginable to most
people in the developed world," Carter said. "The pain and suf-
fering it causes its victims are tragic, yet they are prevent-
able. Relieving the suffering caused by Guinea worm is as easy
as educating people about the disease and providing them with
simple solutions to make their drinking water safe."

According to UNICEF, Guinea worm is expected to be the first
parasitic disease to be eradicated, and the first disease to be
eradicated without vaccines or medications

Leela McCullough, Ed.D.
Director of Information Services
30 California Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: +1-617-926-9400
Fax: +1-617-926-1212

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