Friday 31 March 2000

southeast Asian countries, including India, have been declared as guineaworm free by the World Health Organisation ( who ). After small pox, this is the second disease to have been eradicated from the region.

The who made the declaration after an intensive probe by the global panel of the fourth International Commission for Certification on Dracunuculiasis (gunieaworm), which included a visit to India by a three-member team of the panel. The team visited 62 villages in five states that were earlier endemic for the disease. According to estimates, India had as much as 25 million cases at the time of Independence.

The water-borne disease, prevalent in rural areas with inadequate drinking water, causes severe pain and incapacitation for varying periods and in some cases even permanent crippling. Now the disease remains only in some countries of the sub-Saharan Africa.

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