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£50 million to help eradicate flesh worm

22nd September 2008

Efforts to eradicate a tropical disease which can result in three-feet-long worms bursting out of people's flesh were boosted by a £50 million uk cash injection yesterday.

The aid package, announced by International Development Minister Douglas Alexander, is aimed at eradicating Guinea Worm within just five years. It will pay for health workers, water filters and safe water supplies in South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Niger and Mali.

Infected fleas in dirty drinking water cause the condition - which leaves victims facing up to a year of highly-painful swelling and infected skin as the worm emerges, usually from arms, legs or stomach. Mr Alexander siad: "Building upon President bush's announcement in March of $350,000 and the G8 call in Japan, the UK is supporting the US president's efforts to control or eliminate several tropical deiseases with a £50 million funding boost.

Around one billion people suffer from debilitating tropical diseases. Thirty years ago, scientific breakthroughs led to doctors eradicating smallpox by developing a vaccine.

 

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