This article is part of HuffPost’s Project Zero campaign, a yearlong series on neglected tropical diseases and efforts to fight them.
Most people aren’t familiar with Guinea worm disease ― that’s because it has almost disappeared.
In 1985, the disease had infected about 3.5 million people. At last count, only 25 cases remain.
People contract the Guinea worm, a parasite, by drinking contaminated water. The worm is about as thick as a piece of spaghetti and can grow as long as three feet. It lives inside the body until it’s ready to emerge from the skin in a long and painful process.
Today, the disease exists in only three African countries, and it’s not fought with pills or vaccines, but with education, proper tools and the empowerment of local community members. The Carter Center, a nonprofit founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, has been instrumental in drastically reducing cases of this disease.
The Huffington Post sat down with Dr. Donald Hopkins, a special adviser to The Carter Center on the eradication of Guinea worm, to talk about the road to stamping out this disease forever. Watch the video above to learn more.
Video produced by Sharaf Mowjood, shot by Chelsea Moynehan, Shane Handler, Dan Fox and Mike Caravella and edited by Chai Dingari.
The Carter Center is a recipient of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also funds this series. All content is editorially independent, with no influence or input from the foundation. If you’d like to contribute a post to the series, send an email to ProjectZero@huffingtonpost.com. And follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #ProjectZero.
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Source: HuffPost Black Voices