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Guinea worm clings on in Nigeria

5th March 2007

Attempts to eradicate the water-borne guinea worm disease in Nigeria have almost succeeded, with the parasite fighting an apparent rearguard action at the eleventh hour.

Emanuel Miri, head of the Carter Center programme to fight guinea worm, said cases of the painful and debilitating condition, during which a worm measuring up to three feet long takes weeks to erupt from within the patient's flesh, had fallen sharply in the past 20 year.

In 1988, there were more than 650,000 cases of the disease, also known as dracunculiasis, contracted from contaminated ponds and lakes used as water sources by the rural population. That number was reduced to 16 last year, Miri, said, although a fresh outbreak of 32 cases had just been reported since.


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