Does parasitic danger loom for us?

24 March 2019 | Disasters

Addressing the question of whether the ancient parasite of guinea worms is heading towards Namibia, Dr Eric Dziuban hosts a public talk at the Namibia Scientific Society on Wednesday (27 March).

According to Dziuban, guinea worms are one of the oldest afflictions known to mankind, found in the mummies of Egypt and in the literature of early civilizations.

“The parasites come from drinking contaminated water and they cause much suffering when the worm erupts from the infected person's skin after months of burrowing through the body,” he says “A generation ago, there were millions of cases per year across many parts of Africa.”

Thankfully, a global eradication effort has brought the guinea worm to the verge of eradication, with merely a few dozen cases on earth in the last year.

Shockingly though, two confirmed cases of guinea worm were identified in southern Angola last year, a part of the world that has never had a previously recorded case. Is Namibia at risk of being the next country to carry this disease?

Dr Eric Dziuban, Namibia's Country Director for the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has frontline experience treating patients for guinea worm. Next week he takes the audience through the history of guinea worm disease, its life cycle, where the global eradication campaign has brought us, and what Namibians can expect following the new findings from Angola.

The presentation takes place at 19:30.

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