On 19 February, The New England Journal of Medicine publishes the results of a study that demonstrates the effectiveness of the strategy proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to eradicate yaws by 2020. The study is led by researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal); Pedro Alonso, professor of Public Health from the University of Barcelona, has participated in it. The study proves that one round of mass treatment with single-dose oral azithromycin greatly reduces yaws transmission and prevalence. Results provide empirical data to support the eradication strategy proposed by WHO.

Since April 2013 until May 2014, the research team implemented a mass treatment programme that covered all 28 villages in Lihir Island (Papua New Guinea), an area with a very high burden of yaws infection. Every resident older than two months of age was offered a single oral dose of azithromycin. The overall treatment coverage rate was 84% of the estimated population of 16,092 people. At the end of the study, researchers found that the prevalence of yaws had fallen from 2.4% before treatment to 0.3% in 12 months. They also saw that the percentage of participants with latent yaws (disease carriers) decreased from 18.3% to 6.5%.

ISGlobal provides a hub of excellence dedicated to scientific research and the provision of health care. The institute emerged from a joint initiative between the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and the University of Barcelona, and it is funded by the Obra Social la Caixa and Spanish and Catalan governments.

Further information

Article reference:

Mitjà O, Houinei W, Moses P, Kapa A, Paru R, Hays R, Lukehart S, Godornes C, Vivaldo Bieb S, Grice T, Siba P, Mabey D, Sanz S, Alonso P, Asiedu K, Bassat Q. "Mass Treatment with Single-Dose Azithromycin for Yaws". The New England Journal of Medicine, February 2015. Doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1408586

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On 19 February, The New England Journal of Medicine publishes the results of a study that demonstrates the effectiveness of the strategy proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to eradicate yaws by 2020.

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