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Environment/Natural Resources

[Published: Thursday August 21 2008]

Niger offers reward to stamp out Guinea worm

Niamey, 22 Aug-(ANA)-Niger is tooffer a reward of just over $10 to anyone who reports a case of Guinea worm toauthorities as part of a global effort to eradicate the painful waterborneparasite, the health ministry has said.

The Sahel state is one of the Africancountries still afflicted by the spaghetti-like parasite worm, which can growup to one meter (3 ft) long and pushes out of the host's skin throughblistering, pus-filled wounds to deposit larvae.

The burning pain sends many victims into the nearest available water forrelief and unless boiled or filtered the contaminated water is likely to infectthose who drink it.

Niger'shealth ministry announced the reward of 5,000 CFA francs ($11.35) would also begiven to sufferers of the parasite who identified themselves to officialswithin 24 hours of the disease appearing and who had not contaminated a watersource.

In a message broadcast on state radio, the ministry urged the nearly 14million inhabitants of the largely arid West African state to drink water fromsafe sources like wells and otherwise boil it before drinking.

Suspected Guinea worm sufferers should be reported to the authorities andprevented from entering bodies of water, the ministry added.(ANA)

FA/ANA/22 August 2008---

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