Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Yaws Eradication

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Yaws Eradication

Article excerpt

Next month international experts and WHO technical staff meet health officials from countries where yaws is endemic, to plot the first steps towards the eradication of the disease by 2020. Yaws is a skin disease that causes lesions and rashes and later pain. If untreated, yaws causes disfigurement and disability. It mainly affects children in the tropics.

The meeting, which is due to be held in Geneva from 20 to 22 March, aims to develop the criteria and procedures that will be needed to determine whether the infectious disease, caused by Treponema pertenue has been eradicated, i.e. wiped out globally.

Last year WHO launched a new strategy to eradicate yaws by the year 2020 as part of its 2012 strategy Accelerating work to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases: a roadmap for implementation.

The plan is to interrupt transmission of the bacterial disease in endemic countries by 2017 and, once the world has been yaws-free for three years, the final confirmation that the disease has been wiped out globally, known as certification, would follow in 2020. The only human disease to be eradicated so far is smallpox in the 1970s. If the new strategy is successful, yaws will become the first disease to be eradicated through the use of antibiotics.

This year, WHO will start coordinating the eradication efforts in selected endemic districts of six countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to gauge the feasibility of the new strategy. …

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