Healthcare training schools of every variety should celebrate today’s news about the Guinea Worm, another disease afflicting humanity about to be eradicated from the face of the Earth. Whether you’re a medical school student training to become a physician or you’re taking medical assistant training with us here at the Allen School, it is always a notable day when a formerly devastating ailment is eliminated from the list of diseases you will be helping to treat among patients once you’ve graduated.
Today’s news comes to us from Sub-Saharan Africa where just about 30 years ago more than 3.5 million people were infected with the Guinea Worm, a parasitic infection transmitted through contaminated water. The Guinea Worm parasite would spend a year growing and stretching out to about 3 feet long under the skin of an infected individual doing extensive damage to musculature and tissue, especially devastating young victims whose bodies are still growing. Removal of the parasite involves slowly pulling the long, threadlike worm out of the host; a process described as excruciatingly painful.
With so many of the effected persons living in politically unstable parts of the world, it was difficult to raise awareness and get the treatment and preventative measures distributed to the communities in need. Yet, on Monday, former US President Jimmy Carter announced the near eradication of the disease during the opening of “Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease,” a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. With ground school campuses in the NY metro area, Allen School students could easily make a trip to the museum on the upper west side of Manhattan to see and learn more about this notable stride in modern medicine. Or simply check out the slideshow here.
Today, there are only 126 cases of Guinea Worm left in the world and soon, all of these patients will be healed rendering the disease beaten! It makes one proud to be studying at healthcare training schools like Allen School; preparing to make one’s contribution to the efforts of the medical community.