Yaws: past and present eradication efforts

Published on September 30, 2020   28 min

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My name is Oriol Mitjà . I work at the Foundation for AIDS and Infectious Diseases Research in Barcelona. Today I will talk about Yaws.
The talk will be divided in five major sections: definition and pathology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, therapy, and eradication strategies.
Yaws is an infectious disease caused by Treponema pallidum, subspecies pertenue. This bacteria is spiral in shape and it is related to other human treponemal infections like syphilis, bejel and pinta. The human treponematosis can be differentiated by clinical manifestations, geographic distribution and molecular diagnostic testing, but cannot be differentiated by microscopy or serology.
Yaws was among the first public health problems addressed by WHO in 1948 when it was established. At that time, there were 96 endemic countries that are shadowed in gray in this map, and about 15 million cases of yaws. Between 1952 and 1964, WHO led worldwide mass treatment campaigns to eradicate yaws. Over 300 million examinations were conducted and the number of yaws cases was reduced to 0.5 million. But some areas were left untreated and yaws began to reemerge in the late 1970s.
Currently, 14 countries are known to be endemic in tropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. Only two countries that are highlighted in green, which are India and Ecuador, have reported interruption of transmission. Another 80 countries shadowed in gray have an unknown status and need to be reassessed to determine whether transmission has been interrupted.