While the COVID-19 pandemic keeps on raging all over the globe, another disease could be on the verge of extinction. The Guinea worm is a parasite that causes agonizing skin injuries and skin lesions. In 2021, there were only 14 confirmed cases of infections with the Guinea worm.

This is the most minimal count ever for an infection. The infections were found in more than 20 countries and infected 3.5 million people a year. According to some scientists, Guinea infection is may on the verge of eradication.

 

It’s pretty amazing,” says Adam Weiss, director of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program of the Carter Center, Atlanta, Georgia. “Fourteen people on a planet of almost eight billion. It’s mind-bending to think about.” the Guinea Worm Eradication Program of the Carter Center announced the number in late January.

Compared to the 27 cases reported in 2020. There occurred a reduction of nearly 50% in the numbers in 2021. This is the result of 40-year hard work by international organizations and national governments to rid the world of Guinea worm, Weiss says. rinderpest (a virus that primarily infected cattle and buffaloes) is the only disease that has been intentionally eradicated in human history.

Just 14 cases in 2021: It's time to say Good bye to Guinea worm Infection
Children in Sudan collect water using filters to remove guinea worm larvae.Credit: Maggie Fick/AP/Shutterstock

Humans and a few creatures, including felines, canines, and mandrills, become tainted with Guinea worm by drinking water that is polluted with its larvae. Subsequent to enduring a year developing inside the host, the parasite – that can be dependent upon one meter long – pushes through the skin of its host and holds back to come into contact with water to deliver its larvae. The worm’s getaway is agonizing and can keep going for as long as about a month and a half keeping individuals from working, walking.

 

Yet, the recognizable property of Guinea worm illness additionally makes the parasite simple to identify. In Chad, where 7 of the 14 cases were accounted for last year, field specialists developed an organization to track polluted water sources, says Philippe Tchindebet Ouakou, the organizer of the country’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program. Then, the organization keeps the people from drinking the polluted water and use pesticides to clean it.

 

Just 14 cases in 2021: It's time to say Good bye to Guinea worm Infection
Only 14 cases of infection with Guinea worm — a parasite that causes painful skin lesions — were reported in humans in 2021 could be on its way out. @nature

Many comparative methodologies have been utilized in nations, for example, South Sudan, Mali, and Ethiopia, where the leftover 7 identified cases in 2021 happened. These strategies have kept the Guinea case numbers low and could be utilized to handle other endemic illnesses.

Likewise, Guinea cases in creatures were also decreased by 45% in 2021 and Weiss stays hopeful that eradication is possible. “I absolutely believe Guinea worm is eradicable,” he says. “It will take more work, but if we couldn’t do it, I’d be the first one to say it.”

The International Task Force for Disease Eradication currently has identified around eight diseases as easily eradicable. They’re Guinea worm, poliomyelitis, mumps, rubella, lymphatic filariasis, cysticercosis, measles, and yaws.

 

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