March 26, 2006

"Yardlong, spaghetti-thin worms erupted from the legs or feet — or even eye sockets — of victims."

The horrendous, ancient disease called Guinea worm:
[The worms] forc[ed] their way out by exuding acid under the skin until it bubbled and burst. The searing pain drove [victims] to plunge the blisters into the nearest pool of water, whereupon the worm would squirt out a milky cloud of larvae, starting the cycle anew.
Eliminating the disease only required disrupting this life cycle, mainly by putting a mild pesticide in various ponds. But it wasn't easy to do. Read about the efforts to treat one pond that people regarded as sacred:
[Those who came to treat the pond] found many of the village's women forming a human wall around it....

[T]he women shouted: "This disease is a curse from our ancestors, it has nothing to do with the pond water! If we let you touch anything, the ancestors will deal with us. We heard them crying all night!"
The good news is that the disease is on the verge of complete elimination. And, as the article explains, Jimmy Carter deserves much of the credit.

11 comments:

ShadyCharacter said...

Jimmy Carter?!? - He's history's greatest monster!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

The life cycle of the worm parallels Jimmy Carter's. Worm forced its way under the skin [Hello. My name is Jimmy Carter and I'm running for president.] Searing pain [malaise.] Eliminating the disease required disrupting the life cycle [Hostage crisis/Reagan election.] But it's hard to erradicate [solo trips to Korea. Go back to Habitat work!]

In all seriousness: good for Jimmy Carter taking a disease and using his international clout to eliminate it.

Dave said...

Carter as history's greatest monster?

I'm sur Pol Pot et al would have something to say about that.

ShadyCharacter said...

Dave, get thee to your local doc-in-a-box for a humor injection!

It's a well known Simpsons quote. When in doubt on something like that, google is very useful...

"Marge fails to make marshmallow treats for the town bake sale, which results in Springfield being unable to afford a statue of Abraham Lincoln. They settle for a bronze President Carter instead. When it's unveiled, someone shouts, "Jimmy Carter!? He's history's greatest monster!" and the town riots."

For the record, Carter isn't history's greatest monster, he simply dodders around the world schmoozing with dictators, the bloodier the better...

Gaius Arbo said...

Gen. Yakubu Gowon?

Frankly, his hands are not all that clean. Regardless, I am not a fan of Jimmy, didn't like him when he was president and sure as heck don't like him lately. It is nice to hear he has at least done some good in the world.

Is it just me or are the verification words becoming very, very long and really hard to read?

Icepick said...

The good news is that the disease is on the verge of complete elimination. And, as the article explains, Jimmy Carter deserves much of the credit.

Looked at another way, this is just Carter destroying the bio-diversity of the Earth, pushing for the extinction of yet another species. History's greatest monster indeed!

MadisonMan said...

he simply dodders around the world schmoozing with dictators, the bloodier the better...

Shady,
lots of people do that

That was too easy.

I'm not sure why some find it hard to praise unambiguously Mr. Carter for this incredibly worthwhile achievement.

Tom T. said...

It's delightful that this parasite is being eradicated. Carter deserves great praise. He opens himself up for criticism, however, by once again giving moral cover to a brutal dictator (Gen. Gowon, butcher of Biafra) in search of rehabilitation. In what circumstances is it acceptable to make compromises with evil to achieve good goals?

lindsey said...

It's true. To the worms, Jimmy Carter is Hitler only successful. He's exterminated an entire species or genus, whatever it is.

Noumenon said...

I have to plug WaterAid here. It's nearly the only private charity that works for clean water and sanitation -- which stops the spread of Guinea worm, as well as diarrhea and a host of other diseases. Great bang for your buck.

I liked the story Carter told in the video about the African woman's breasts.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Wow. Such anti-Carter sentiment and the man has done so much good in the world.

He is no saint, and sometimes makes mistakes in judgement, (as do we all), but it just amazes me that people can read through this article and come up with nothing but negativity.

Actually, one of the fascinating things here is the role of religion in society, and how religious choices do in fact have real world impact.

One could make arguments about the relative worth of religions based upon how they affect society.