Great news! Rinderpest (or “cattle plague”) is now the second virus that we believe we have eradicated in the wild, and have now confined to vials stored in research labs. Here is a link to the World Organization for Animal Health’s press release about cattle plague’s eradication, and here is a video from Al Jazeera about it:

We’ve also come close to eliminating the parasite that causes Guinea worm disease, but this parasite can only be controlled by changes in the behavior of infected people. Infected people experience intense burning when the nematode worm which causes the disease begins burrowing through their skin. To relieve this burning, people stick their infected appendage (usually feet) into the water. Once in the water, the nematode female releases her eggs, and the larvae from these eggs infect copepods in the water. The copepods are small, and when people drink water containing infected copepods they themselves become infected. Campaigns have been waged to educate people about keeping their infected appendages away from drinking water supplies, but civil wars in areas where the parasite is endemic and a handful of other roadblocks have prevented the success of this program.

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