March 26, 2006


Dose of Tenacity Wears Down a Horrific Disease (DONALD G. McNEIL Jr., 3/26/06, NY Times)

For untold generations here, yardlong, spaghetti-thin worms erupted from the legs or feet — or even eye sockets — of victims, forcing their way out by exuding acid under the skin until it bubbled and burst. The searing pain drove them 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.

"The pain is like if you stab somebody," said Hyacinth Igelle, a farmer with a worm coming out of a hand so swollen and tender that he could not hold a hoe. He indicated how the pain moved slowly up his arm. "It is like fire — it comes late, but you feel it even unto your heart."

Now, thanks to a relentless 20-year campaign led by former President Jimmy Carter, Guinea worm is poised to become the first disease since smallpox to be pushed into oblivion. Fewer than 12,000 cases were found last year, down from 3 million in 1986.

Mr. Carter persuaded world leaders, philanthropists and companies to care about an obscure and revolting disease and help him fight it. His foundation mobilized volunteers in tens of thousands of villages to treat the drinking water the worms live in.

Of course, he has a ways to gpo to tilt the scales back in his favor....

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 26, 2006 8:33 AM

Anything Carter's involved in is suspect, but diseases like this in the 21st century are anathema! Gazillions have been spent and still simple things like clean water are not available everywhere on this planet.

As has been discussed here before, it would take relatively very little effort and treasure to educate people and give them the means provide to clean water and septic systems for their communities. This isn't rocket science. I wish Bush would make this a top priority after the November elections. Get peoples' minds off global warming and pictures of polar bears wading in shallow pools.

BTW - Anyone else notice that now that Canada is again in the Conservative column, reports of baby seals being beaten on the head are back in the news? Was there a ban on this activity during the recent Liberal administrations? Or is the ban simply on reporting it, like the ban on reporting homelessness during a Democratic administration.

Just asking.

Posted by: erp at March 26, 2006 10:11 AM

Always nice to force a disgusting animal into extinction.

Posted by: Amos at March 26, 2006 9:21 PM

Jimmy Carter is a very good man who is simply a terrible politician. One of those saintly men that the Machiavellis of the world simply devour.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 27, 2006 12:12 PM

Actually, he's an awful man, but he tries to do good.

Posted by: oj at March 27, 2006 12:41 PM

carter is now pro-worm.

Posted by: toe at March 27, 2006 1:19 PM


Carter was a better man in 1975 than he was in 1980, and now he is just a bitter old gasbag. His behavior after the last Venezuealan election was atrocious, and his remarks about Cuba, North Korea, and even Hamas are reminders of how densely foolish he can be. Wisdom is required of "saints", I believe, and Jimmy Carter has none.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 27, 2006 3:10 PM

Never has forgiven the nation for 1980. It's questionable whether he was ever really that good a guy -- you'd have to think the same vanity was there in 1975, the electorate just hadn't sinned against it yet.

Posted by: joe shropshire at March 27, 2006 6:43 PM