Laudable: Jimmy Carter’s Initiative Has Almost Eradicated Guinea Worm Disease From Africa

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The Carter Center has announced that only 22 cases of Guinea worm disease were reported worldwide in 2015, making it a significant milestone achievement for the Center’s fight against the disease. In the past, Guinea worm disease has devastated many lives in Africa and other parts of the world.

The Carter Center is an initiative of James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, the 39th President of the United States. The Center is dedicated to waging peace, fighting disease, and building hope for the hopeless.

According to the Center, this new statistic means that there was an 83% reduction from the 126 cases reported in 2014. It is therefore the greatest single percentage reduction in human cases in the history of the Center’s global campaign against the disease since 1986.

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Occupy Democrats reports that when the Carter Center began its quest to end Guinea worm disease in 1986, there were 3.5 million cases across Africa. Today, there are only 22 cases in twenty villages across Africa, putting the disease on a clear course to be the second disease to be entirely eradicated from the world after smallpox.

Countries where the 22 cases were reported in 2015 are Mali, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Chad. In Chad, it is said some of the reported cases were found in dogs. But experts say dogs are not the parasite’s natural host, and that the disease might be taking a new trend.

The Carter Center said it compiled the numbers from the ministries of health in the remaining endemic countries, meaning the figures are reliable. The Center also confirmed that when it began leading the international campaign to eradicate the Guinea Worm disease in 1986, there were an estimated 3.5 million Guinea worm cases occurring annually in Africa and Asia.

“As we get closer to zero, each case takes on increasing importance. Full surveillance must continue in the few remaining endemic nations and neighboring countries until no cases remain to ensure the disease does not return. The Carter Center and our partners are committed to seeing that this horrible parasitic disease never afflicts future generations,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

According to health experts, the Guinea worm disease is a horrifying malady that is contracted through unclean drinking water, and its effects are gruesome. Inside a human’s abdomen, the Guinea worm larvae mate and female worms mature and grow. After about a year of incubation, the female Guinea worm, one meter long, creates an agonizingly painful lesion on the skin and slowly emerges from the body. Sufferers of the disease may try to seek relief from the burning sensation caused by the emerging worm, and immerse their limbs in water sources; however, this contact with water stimulates the emerging worm to release its larvae into the water and begin the cycle of infection all over again.

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The American Center for Disease Control also reports that people do not usually show symptoms of Guinea Worm until about one year after they become infected. A few days or hours before the worm comes out of the skin, the person may develop a fever, swelling, and pain in the area. More than 90% of the worms come out of the legs and feet, but worms can appear on other body parts too.

Through the efforts of the Carter Center, supported by the World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, over 80 million infections have been prevented and the prevalence of the disease has been cut by 99.99%.

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Occupy Democrat eulogizes the former President, saying the good he has done in the world cannot be quantified, and that he is a true American hero, a man of saintly virtue, compassion and generosity.

Jimmy Carter is known for his incredible humanitarian efforts across the world. He earned a Presidential Medal of Honor and a Nobel Prize in 2002 for dedicating decades of untiring effort to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.


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