10 facts on yaws eradication

December 2017

Yaws is a chronic infectious disease that is closely linked to poverty. It is eradicable as humans are the only hosts. A global campaign using benzathine penicillin injection reduced 95% of global cases in the late 1960s. However, abandonment of programmes and weak surveillance led to resurgence in many countries, prompting WHO to re-start control programmes in 2007.

The discovery in 2012 that a single, oral dose of the antibiotic azithromycin can completely cure yaws has added momentum to eradication. Today, only 14 countries are known to be endemic. In 2017, Philippines confirmed some cases. India is the first country officially declared free of yaws by WHO in 2016.

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