The target date for eradicating Guinea worm has been delayed 10 years, and that may be overly optimistic

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a stringy worm that is 60 to 90 centimetres erupts through the skin on the leg or foot.

Ouch, that’s got’a hurt something fierce.


Oh, it gets worse! Courtesy of the CDC [emphasis mine]:

There is no drug to treat Guinea worm disease and no vaccine to prevent infection. Once part of the worm begins to come out of the wound, the rest of the worm can only be pulled out a few centimeters each day by winding it around a piece of gauze or a small stick. Sometimes the whole worm can be pulled out within a few days, but this process usually takes weeks. Medicine, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and swelling. Antibiotic ointment can help prevent secondary bacterial infections. The worm can also be surgically removed by a trained doctor in a medical facility before a blister forms.

Oh, and don’t forget (courtesy Wikipedia):

It is of great importance not to break the worm when pulling it out. Broken worms have a tendency to putrefy or petrify. Putrefaction leads to the skin sloughing off around the worm. Petrification is a problem if the worm is in a joint or wrapped around a vein or other important area.


There are a ton of horrible ways to get sick when you don’t have access to what most of us normally take for granted like clean water and basic sanitation, but the guinea worm is pretty high up on the list. Jimmy Carter is a hero. I believe he has clearly stated that he would die in peace as long as it was after the last guinea worm, and while he may not make it that far based on this new date, he and the people who work with his foundation have saved 10s of millions of people from this scourge.


That’s the silver lining to this disappointing delay: Jimmy has to hang around for another 10 years.

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An international partnership — led by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia — has reduced the number of new infections from 3.5 million per year in 1986 to just 28 in 2018.

Poor Jimmy Carter, who has been working on this for years. This situation must be disheartening for him. Meanwhile, Dubya is painting pictures of his feet in the bathtub.


Give him credit for the Frida Kahlo homage.

Or, as it may be, an Ithell Colquhoun homage.


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