Strategy for the eradication of yaws
ISGlobal, Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal, Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona), Barcelona, Spain
Yaws, a neglected tropical disease, is the main cause of skin lesions in children and can lead to severe bone deformities. The disease is highly contagious, and between 2008 and 2015 some 461,000 cases of yaws were confirmed in 13 countries with high poverty levels and poor health and hygiene conditions. The strategy adopted by the WHO could make yaws the second human disease to be eradicated from the planet, after smallpox in 1979.
The project funded by ”la Caixa” Foundation evaluated the best strategy to achieve the eradication of yaws. A key point in this goal was discovery of the effect of azithromycin on the bacteria that causes yaws. Once the possibilities of a cure with this medication were established it was necessary to determine the most appropriate strategy for its administration. The study compared two strategies (one round of mass administration of azithromycin, versus three rounds) to ascertain which was most effective.
The results in terms of coverage and impact of the treatment confirmed its effectiveness and indicated that mass administration throughout the entire population would be the best strategy. Outcomes suggest that this approach is effective not only for those with active infection, but also in individuals with latent infection.