Georgia’s best president, Jimmy Carter, said on Monday the Carter Center’s work to eradicate Guinea-worm disease (AKA: Dracunculiasis) is close to being complete.
In an interview with NPR’s “All Things Considered”, Carter said there have been only two confirmed cases of Guinea-worm disease in 2016. Compare that to the 3.5 million a year during the 1980s.
“It is very pleasing for me,” Carter said perhaps downplaying the development just a tad.
If the Carter Center is successful, this will be only the second time in human history we’ve managed to eradicate a disease.
However, Carter said there’s a possibility Guinea-worm disease rates could increase.
“Once a particular water hole — which has to be stagnant water — has Guinea worm [gone], the only way it can be revived in that particular area is for someone with Guinea worm coming out of their body to wade out into the water and let more eggs to be planted. So we’ve never had a case when we’ve completely eradicated from the village of Guinea worm recurring unless some stranger comes from a distant place and [contaminates] the water with Guinea worm. But the villagers know to keep people out of the water. And once they do that the Guinea worm is gone forever.”
The Carter Center is also making “very good progress” toward eliminating river blindness Carter said.
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I think Carter is fast approaching the status of Secular Saint. And he continues to raise the bar for what it means to be a successful former president. (Maybe this is penance for being a dreadful President?)
Other good news from Carter said there is “no sign” of his brain cancer returning and he is “feeling fine.”
“I just want to get rid of the last case of Guinea worm during my lifetime, that’s what I want to do.”