Whats On Tap (News) Official News WATER Attempts to Raise Money to Help Buruli Patients Obtain Surgery
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October 1, 2015 - Buruli Ulcer (BU) is one of 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a flesh eating bacteria, which is prominent in West Africa. 9 of the top 10 countries in terms of cases are in Africa but the 10th is Australia. There were 2,250 cases reported in the world in 2014, of which 443 were in Ghana. It is arguably the most neglected of the NTDs. The reason for this is that it has very little outside funding because it is largely a regional problem, but more importantly because the mode of transmission is unknown. No one knows how you get it. Suspected vectors are an insect breeding in slow moving water or damp soil, or a person entering a moist area with an open sore where the bacteria is present. In late 2012 a drug study began in Ghana and Benin in hopes of finding an oral antibiotic which is effective in fighting the disease. The trial will continue through 2016.  The goal is to test Clarithromycin (which can be taken orally) to replace Streptomycin (which must be injected) and be administered for 56 consecutive days when a case is found to help stop the spread of the disease. These antibiotics are taken in conjunction with Rifampin (oral).  The advantages of having both oral antibiotics is obvious, especially in rural areas. Cases will be sought out and given a new antibiotic mixture provided the wound is 15 centimeters (about 4.5 inches) in diameter or less. Larger wounds are not eligible because measuring the wound size can be difficult and thus measuring the effectiveness of the drugs can also be difficult. 332 eligible cases are needed over a 4 year period. Based on previous reporting figures, we expect about 1/3 of the cases found will have wounds larger than 15 centimeters and therefore are not eligible for the study. Nearly all of these cases will require surgery or skin grafts, something they cannot afford. This campaign is about solving that problem by raising the money so these patients can be treated. Each surgery costs about $1,500. Because we expect to find 150 to 200 people who will require surgery over the 3 year study period, the needs are substantial. Therefore we also need your assistance to spread the word among your friends. The money will be sent to Africa via a US based not-for-profit (501C-3) organization named Water in Africa Through Everyday Responsiveness or WATER. Your contribution is 100% tax deductible. WATER has been engaged by the Ghana Health Service to help raise money for Buruli Ulcer and will also monitor the project via resources on the ground in Ghana. If you would like to know more about Buruli Ulcer you can go to the video link http://www.rockhopper.tv/programmes/653/#. This video aired earlier this year on the BBC. The 4 minute video will introduce you to the disease and to me, Jim Niquette. You can also contact me at JNiquette@aol.com. Thank you.