What's Yaws? 'Flesh-Eating Bug' Hits Pygmies

Yithian

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'Flesh-eating bug' hits pygmies

'Flesh-eating bug' hits pygmies

Pygmies living in remote forests in the Republic of Congo are suffering from a "flesh-eating" disease, the New Scientist magazine reports.
Known as bush yaws or pian, it's rarely fatal, but infects cuts and causes lesions that destroy skin and bones.

A UN team that visited the Likouala region found that some 3,000 Pygmies there had the disease.

The highly contagious disease can be prevented by washing with soap and water and treated with penicillin.


But the team sent by the UN's children fund (Unicef) was only able to treat 135 people during its latest trip because of a lack of funding and the remoteness of the region.

Hygiene

The Unicef representative in the Congolese capital, Brazzaville, Raymond Janssens, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that the disease used to be present in all tropical areas.

"Yaws begins where the trail ends," he quoted one researcher from the 1950s as saying.

But improved hygiene and knowledge of the disease has meant that it has now been eliminated from many areas.

Mr Janssens said that the Unicef team has been conducting an education programme in the area as well as administering drugs.

Unicef hopes to send another mission to the area in June.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3690495.stm
 

Cult_of_Mana

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This story also appeared in this weeks New Scientist but with an extra twist. The final paragraph of the NS article reads:

'In the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, there have been cases of Pygmies being murdered and eaten. Last year Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of the Mbuti Pygmies, appealed to the UN to set up a court to try those responsible.'

:wtf: :cross eye
 
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#3
"Flesh-eating disease" ravages Congo's Pygmies

Wed May 5, 3:04 PM ET


PARIS (AFP) - Pygmies holed up in remote forests in the Republic of Congo are being ravaged by a "flesh-eating disease" that could be prevented just by washing with soap and water, New Scientist reports.


A team of UN health workers, making the arduous trip to the Likouala region in March, found that as many as half of the 6,000 local Pygmies there, a community known as the Babenga, have the disease, it says.

The ailment, known as bush yaws or pian, develops when a highly contagious germ, Treponema pertenue, infects cuts and grazes, causing lesions that can destroy skin and bone.

It seldom kills directly but can so disfigure its victims that they often hide themselves away out of shame.

Bush yaws has been wiped out in most tropical countries but remains a problem in areas where people are too poor to afford soap. It can be cured by a single shot of penicillin.

Even so, the team, organized by the UN Children's Fund Unicef, was only able to treat 135 people before funds ran out, the British weekly says. It hopes to stage another mission to the area in June.

The estimated several hundred thousand Pygmies that remain in western and central Africa have already been badly hit by civil wars, unrest and logging, driving them out of their traditional homes in the forest.

"Many now live on the outskirts of non-pygmy villages, often in conditions of slavery," New Scientist notes.

In the neighbouring Democratic of Congo, the state prosecutor unveiled a probe in January into allegations that Pygmies in the northeast of the country were being killed and eaten.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=sto.../health_disease_africa_040505190416&printer=1
 

Kondoru

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Did they mention that the Baku are often adversley affected by conservation laws? Dont think so.
 
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This is the New Scientist piece I believe:

Flesh-eating disease threatens Congo's pygmies

16:25 06 May 04



An ancient disease is creating "havoc" among one of the world's most impoverished and neglected populations, aid workers are warning. And the plight of the African pygmies is worsened by a catalogue of other woes, including slavery and war, they say.

At least 3000 pygmies in the remote Likouala region of the Republic of Congo are threatened by "bush yaws", also known as "pian", says the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). So far the agency's team based in the capital Brazzaville has managed to treat only 135 people due to difficulties in reaching the pygmies' remote forest dwellings and a lack of funding.

The highly contagious, flesh-eating disease, Treponema pertenue, is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium related to syphilis. It is easily treated with a shot of penicillin and is disease primarily caused by poverty and lack of basic hygiene facilities. Access to soap and water is enough to prevent it.

"It is not only horrible, but also a disease of disgrace because it eats away your flesh on your limbs and face," Raymond Janssens, UNICEF representative for Congo, told New Scientist. "There are wet wounds, and they leak and infect other people in the family."

He notes: "As one researcher said 'pian begins where the road ends'. It affects really far away communities which have difficulty in accessing healthcare."


Skin and bone


"The situation is very, very serious," says Liliane Tumba, UNICEF's administrator in Brazzaville, who led a preliminary mission to treat the pygmies in March. Her team is returning to the isolated forests in June. Just one shot of penicillin can clear up the lesions associated with yaws in four days, she says. "But people can die if untreated."

"Deaths from yaws directly are rare but it can contribute to severe secondary bacterial skin and bloodstream infections and overall substantial debilitation," says Larry Lutwick, a moderator for the international infectious disease alert service ProMED mail. If untreated, yaws can leave permanent disfigurement and disability.

The pygmies' situation is exacerbated by social and economic factors, say Tumba and Janssens. Deforestation has driven many pygmies from their traditional woodland homes in the last quarter of a century. Many now live in basic huts on the outskirts of Bantu villages where they are exploited as slaves, says Janssens. "It's a really dreadful situation which the Congolese themselves have to address."

Marginalised and impoverished they do not have access to the most basic hygiene or healthcare, which is why yaws is so prevalent. "It's basically a question of personal hygiene, access to soap, clean water, washing clothes," he says.


Cannibalism threat


The lack of hygiene means that, even if treated, yaws can reinfect the pygmies, Tumba told New Scientist. Therefore, as well as treating bush yaws, UNICEF and the Congolese government also aim to improve health education and access for the pygmies.

Janssens points out that Congo has recently emerged from a decade of civil war. "This is a factor which influences the situation negatively, some of these areas have been neglected and forgotten over years."

He believes pygmies in other countries like Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) may be suffering similarly. In DR Congo, the pygmies are suffering the additional threat of being cannibalised in the current civil war.

Yaws is an ancient disease. William Karesh, of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, US, who studies diseases in gorillas and chimpanzees in Congo and Gabon, believes that humans are its natural reservoir.

"It has been a human disease for possibly millions of years," he told New Scientist. Some of the earliest evidence includes 1.5 million-year-old hominid bones with lesions consistent with yaws in the Kenyan Museum, he says.
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994967
 
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Why are they so small?

African rainforest hunter-gatherers are among the smallest humans on the planet.

Adult men rarely exceed 1.5 meters tall, about a quarter-meter shorter than the global average. Now, the largest ever genetic analysis of this group may have fingered the gene responsible—and settled a mystery that has vexed scientists for decades.

Once called “Pygmies” by outsiders, African rainforest hunter-gatherers live in densely forested environments across Central Africa. Their way of life includes gathering wild fruits and vegetables, fishing, and hunting monkeys and antelope. Their most striking physical characteristic is their relatively short stature (The name “pygmy” is derived from the ancient Greek word for “dwarf.”)

Some anthropologists have speculated that the group’s small body size gave them an advantage in Africa’s spectacularly hot, humid rainforests. Put simply, there’s less body to cool down, be it by sweating or other means. But other scientists say their stature may be just an accident. People in African rainforests have long battled numerous infectious diseases—including hepatitis B and C—and the genes this group evolved to help protect them have been linked to reduced levels of growth hormones.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/08/stature-gene-may-reveal-why-these-hunter-gatherers-are-among-world-s-smallest-humans
 
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