Monday, February 20, 2012

Eradication of the Guinea Worm Disease

As I read the first few chapters of Survival of the Sickest, its' focus on the Guinea worm disease was interesting to me. It states, "...Guinea worm infections had dropped from 3.5 million in 1986 to just 10,0674 in 2005. By understanding how the Guinea worm has evolved in relationship to us..." (96-96). When I first read this statement, I thought it was a very good happening. However, I realized it has taken twenty years for these results to occur and President Jimmy Carter expected the disease to be eradicated in 10 years, according to the article "Final struggle to eradicate guinea worm disease" written in 2007 ( Also, about 1,000 new cases in Ghana arose in that year, making eradication difficult. I was curious about the update on the disease so I found another article stating that in the year 2011, there are only 1,060 cases ( And recent news say that foundations that are part of the eradication process hope to eliminate the disease by 2020.

Reading all of this brings me back to Ewald's theory (pg. 120-123). I believe that the Guinea worm disease may have not been eradicated earlier because "bacterial evolution gives bacteria an advantage over us". Although it may seem that the eradication process may come to a final end soon, I won't be surprised if it won't happen by the year 2020. I wonder if more practical ways can help further the process such as educating the children since they are the majority of victims.

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