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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to Hold Press Conference on Major Milestone in Guinea Worm Eradication Campaign

Source: cartercenter.org
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WHAT: The campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease has reached a critical tipping point that will be recognized in a special ceremony led by former U.S. President and Carter Center Founder Jimmy Carter alongside dignitaries from around the world on Feb. 17, 2011, at The Carter Center in Atlanta. Media are invited to a pre-ceremony press conference for commentary on the current status of the international Guinea worm eradication campaign.

WHO:President Carter, Carter Center Vice President of Health Programs Dr. Donald Hopkins, and representatives from the endemic countries.

WHEN: Feb. 17, 2011, 4-4:30 p.m. EST

WHERE: The Carter Center Rotunda/Upper Commons, 453 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta, GA.

RSVP: These events are not open to the public. Media interested in covering the below opportunities are asked to RSVP to Paige Rohe by Wednesday, Feb. 16, 12:00 p.m. EST ([email protected]; 404-420-5129).

OTHER INFORMATION:

· The Carter Center Awards for Guinea Worm Eradication will honor the two newest nations to have stopped Guinea worm disease transmission: Niger and Nigeria—formerly the most Guinea worm-endemic country. With their success and global cases reduced to fewer than 1,800 (provisional) in 2010, the international Carter Center-led campaign is closer than ever to making Guinea worm disease only the second disease in human history to be eradicated after smallpox. The ceremony will be live webcast and archived for later viewing at www.cartercenter.org.

* B-roll and photographs from The Carter Center Awards for Guinea Worm Eradication as well as footage from the eradication campaign will be available upon request.

* An ancient and horrible affliction, Guinea worm disease is a waterborne parasitic infection endemic to some of the world's poorest and most isolated communities. Also known as dracunculiasis, Guinea worm disease incubates in a person for about a year until worms as long as 1 meter exit the body painfully and slowly from blisters in the skin. There is no vaccine or medicine to prevent or treat Guinea worm disease. When The Carter Center began spearheading the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease in 1986, there were an estimated 3.5 million cases in 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, less than a fraction of one percent of cases remain in pockets of four endemic countries: southern Sudan, northern Ghana, eastern Mali, and western Ethiopia. Approximately 95 percent of remaining cases are found in Southern Sudan.

* Up-to-date Guinea worm resources including, monthly case reporting, graphs,news articles, and human interest stories are available on the Center's site, www.cartercenter.org.

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"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit www.cartercenter.org to learn more about The Carter Center.

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