Posts Tagged guinea worm

A Wormy Christmas: Now and Then

December 22nd, 2010

Worms are one of the most commonly referenced ailments in the Bible[1]. Some references make it clear that we’re talking about maggots, or larvae of some kind. In other places, though, it’s very clear that the worms in question are helminthes. The “fiery serpents” that struck the Israelites of the Red Sea area is generally understood by parasitologists to be Guinea Worms; the clinical symptoms of Dracunculiasis are also clearly recognizable in Bible passages[2].

In fact, worms come very close to being a theme in the Bible. Worms represent all kinds of things: illness, pain, dirt, and the smallness of human beings before God. Humans die and are eaten by worms, worms eat up the plants and the grapes. Psalm 22:6 is especially memorable: “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people…”

Worms were a fact of life for the people of the Bible, or they wouldn’t some up so often in its texts. Worms are also a fact of life for the people of the Modern Middle East. It’s hard to find data disaggregated for the Middle East alone, but the numbers are powerful. While Guinea Worm has been nearly eradicated from the region, there are many other helminthes that affect the Middle East. Both hookworms and roundworms are found in the region; 17% of global hookworm infections are in the Middle East and North Africa. Most of those infections are in children. Looking at the sparse data on the West Bank and Palestine, it is clear that helminth infections are common. 13.6% of children in Palestinian refugee camps are infected with cryptosporidium [3]. Read more: A Wormy Christmas: Now and Then

Building Hope: The Carter Centers Mission to Eliminate NTDs

November 4th, 2010

Dr. Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben shows an infected foot- the result of having guinea worm. Photo Credit: ASTMH Blog

You know that you are in a room with passionate global-health do-gooders when no one bats an eye at a graphic visual of guinea worm extraction.

This morning, I attended a session given by the Carter Center, an organization that has pioneered many successful interventions for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). Read more: Building Hope: The Carter Centers Mission to Eliminate NTDs

The Only Source of Knowledge is Experience

November 3rd, 2010

All week, my colleagues and I are attending various sessions at the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. We will be listening to global health experts speak on a cadre of hot global health topics including  schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis,  water and hygiene, malaria, tuberculosis, human rights and integrated control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

This includes presentations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Children without WormsSchistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Helen Keller International (HKI), Taskforce for Global Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH),  among many others.

To kick off what will be a week chock-full of the latest research and data, as well as fruitful discussion and debate in the dynamic realm of tropical medicine, tonight’s opening plenary session featured Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director, CDC, delivers remarks at opening plenary of ASTMH Annual Meeting. Photo Credit: ASTMH blog

Read more: The Only Source of Knowledge is Experience

Screening of Foul Water, Fiery Serpent at the National Geographic Society!

October 13th, 2010

The groundbreaking documentary entitled Foul Water, Fiery Serpent will be screened next Monday, October 18, 2010 at the National Geographic Society! Check out details on next Mondays screening below, as well as our guest blogger Alanna Shaikhs post on the film as well:

Global Health Council, The Carter Center, and The National Geographic Society for the Washington D.C. premiere of

Foul Water Fiery Serpent


Monday, Oct. 18, 2010

6:30-8 pm The National Geographic Society Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium 1600 M Street, NW Washington, D.C.


The new documentary chronicles the dedication of health workers engaged in the final struggle to eradicate a horrific disease in Africa. The film features former President Jimmy Carter and The Carter Center, and is narrated by Sigourney Weaver.

For a preview of the film, please click here.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with special guests:

  • Dr. Don Hopkins, VP Health Programs, The Carter Center
  • Ms. Susanna Moorehead, UK Executive Director to the World Bank and Minister Counselor at the British Embassy
  • David Thon, a Lost Boy of Sudan, Graduate Training Assistant, Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Please RSVP by COB, Oct. 15 or call (415) 670-9600.

Reading List 10/13/2010

October 13th, 2010

Lots of new developments in the world of NTDs and global health! Today were reading about a newly developed diagnostic test for river blindness, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awards $15.5 million to needle-free dengue vaccine, former President Jimmy Carter announces the near eradication of guinea worm and river blindness in the areas where The Carter Center works, and a group from Imperial College London was awarded with a grant from the United Kingdom government to fight against neglected tropical diseases.

Scientists develop first test to detect river blindness, Mark Johnson, Journal Sentinel NIAID awards $15.5m to needle-free dengue vaccine, Nick Taylor, in-Pharma Technologies Carter says disease mission nearly finished, Associated Press Imperial initiative to protect children from tropical disease awarded £25m government backing, Media Newswire

Reading List 9/28/2010

September 28th, 2010

A lot going on in the world of global health and NTDs today! This Tuesday afternoon were reading about the Philippine Department of Healths initiative to combat malnutrition which in turn will help control and eliminate NTDs, the Carter Centers progress on eradicating guinea worm in Sudan, a new UN report that demonstrates greater access to HIV/AIDS treatment in 37 countries, and creation of a new malaria vaccine.

DOH acts to end IDA, Suzette R. Adduru, Philippine Information Agency Carter Center close to eradicating dreaded disease, The Carter Center UN report shows access to HIV services improving in many developing countries, UN News Center Good news expected at US meet on malaria vaccine, AFP

Reading List 9/27/10

September 27th, 2010

Brand new reading list to help kick off your week! Today were reading about guinea worm eradication efforts that inspired the film Foul Water Fiery Serpent, health care needs in Africa, and the beginning of Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)s week-long annual Directing Council meeting. Also, Good Intentions, a nonprofit that works to guide donors on making informed funding decisions, put together a comprehensive list of readings and blog posts on the Clinton Global Initiative and UN week.

Eradicating Guinea worm disease—a prelude to NTD elimination, David Molyneux, The Lancet Saving Africas dying from the brain drain , Jane Elliott, BBC News Meeting of Ministers of Health of the Americas Starts Today, Pan American Health Organization A Compilation of articles about Clinton Global Initiative and UN week, Good Intentions

Real Change for Real People: How investments change lives (Part 5)

September 17th, 2010

 Center for High Impact Philanthropy concludes their week-long series on NTDs by talking about the impact of NTDs and why elimination is possible.

Reprinted with Permission from the Center for High Impact Philanthropy.

The Clinton Global Initiative, UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals, and TEDxChange are only a few days away. We present this series of five daily blogs on Neglected Tropical Diseases as an example of an area where philanthropists can make a big social impact. This is the conclusion of a series of five posts that look at the impact of neglected tropical diseases and why philanthropists focused on health may be interested. Although there is a lot of action needed to help treat those living in poverty and afflicted with one or more tropical diseases, there is also hope. The types of treatment options we’ve discussed in the previous blogs can make a real difference in the lives of those needing medical care.

Read more: Real Change for Real People: How investments change lives (Part 5)

Good News For Buruli Ulcer

August 11th, 2010

By: Alanna Shaikh

I like good news, and this week has sure been short on it. Today, for example – we have added massive landslides in China to the floods in Pakistan and the forest fires in Russia. We could all use a good success story with interesting implications and – hey – I’ve got one:

The Stop Buruli consortium has successfully gene sequenced the bacteria that transmit Buruli. Buruli ulcer, for the unfamiliar, is a disgusting flesh-eating disease that leads to open sores and deformities. It generally affects children and young people, and it’s primarily found in West Africa (though it also shows up in Asia, Latin America, and Australia. I am hoping they mean some part of Asia far away from Central Asia, where I live.) And – this is fun – we’re not sure exactly how it is transmitted.  It has a mechanism beyond just skin-to-skin contact. It seems to be linked to slow moving water. Maybe.

Read more: Good News For Buruli Ulcer

The need for vaccine support in the developing world

August 5th, 2010

Vaccines have been responsible for preventing countless numbers of death throughout the world. In the cases of rotavirus diarrhea and pneumococcal pneumonia, new vaccines stand to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children each year from these diseases within the developing world. In fact, immunization is one of the most cost-effective methods of intervention in child health. Despite this fact, still 2 out of 5 children under five years old die from either diarrhea or pneumonia. The issue can be traced back to the lack of resources that the global community is neglecting to allocate to developing vaccines for these diseases. Such allocation is important to reaching Millennium Development Goal 4, which is to reduce under-five child mortality by two-thirds by 2015. This goal can not be achieved without commitment from the global community to support immunization.

There is hope yet based on our history with vaccines. UNICEFs Measles Initiative and Rotary Internationals Polio Eradication Initiative are two examples of successful programs that lead to the eradication of two highly infectious diseases.

Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan discusses in depth of the importance of vaccines in the developing world in their co-authored blog post featured on the Huffington Post.

In regards to controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases, The Carter Center has a Schistosomiasis Control Program as well as a Guinea Worm Eradication Program both in Africa. These programs target school-aged children, who are most vulnerable to these diseases, and widely distribute drugs within communities on a yearly basis.

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    • The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is a major advocacy and resource mobilization initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute dedicated to raising the awareness, political will, and funding necessary to control and eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)--a group of disabling, disfiguring, and deadly diseases affecting more than 1.4 billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day.
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