the VOA Special English Development Report.
worm disease usually does not kill, but it is extremely painful. It prevents
people from caring for their farms, their homes and sometimes even themselves.
nineteen eighty-six, an estimated three and one-half million people in Africa
and Asia suffered from Guinea worm disease. There were cases in more than
Guinea worm still exists. But in two thousand seven, fewer than ten thousand
cases were reported in five countries.
organizations made the difference. They worked to increase activism and donations
to the Global Dracunculiasis Eradication Campaign. That is the technical name
for Guinea worm disease. Local governments provided support for services.
Carter Center in the United States led the efforts. The World Health
Organization and UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, also played
central parts. So did the United States Centers for Disease Control and
C.D.C. says Guinea worm no longer strikes in Asia. Most remaining cases are in
Sudan and Ghana. The other countries affected are Mali, Niger and Nigeria. All
five are working to stop the disease.
The disease affects poor communities that do not have safe water to drink.
worms are parasites -- organisms that live in other organisms. The parasites
enter the body when a person drinks water containing water fleas infected with
Guinea worm larvae, the young form of the worm. "Water fleas" are not
insects but copepods, a crustacean like lobsters and crabs but extremely small.
year passes without signs of the disease. But during that time the worm
develops inside the person's body. Some reach lengths of one meter.
worm makes its way toward the skin surface. A blister forms, usually on the
legs or feet.
person suffers greatly when the worm cuts through the skin and leaves the body.
And it is not unusual for an infected person to have more than one Guinea worm.
international campaign has worked to help communities improve their supplies of
drinking water. For example, villagers have been taught ways to keep water
clean and to take steps like running water through cloth to reduce the risk of
no vaccine against Guinea worm and no totally effective treatment. But the
disease can be managed to reduce pain and infection.
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jerilyn Watson.