What is yaws?

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Yaws or framboesia is an infectious and disfiguring Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) caused by a bacterium similar to that causing syphilis. It is most common in children, and affects the skin, bones, and cartilage, causing disability.

Yaws is a NTD that manifests as a lump or papilloma, normally in the arms or legs. The bacterium that causes it, Treponema pallidum, sub-species pertenue, is very similar to the bacterium causing syphilis. If not treated in time, the initial lump can ulcerate and affect cartilage and bones, causing disability.

What you should know about yaws

Yaws is a neglected disease and hardly any resources are invested in researching, treating, or eliminating the disease. As such it is important to make sure its existence is known about. Here are some data to explain more about it:

  • Every year some 90,000 cases of yaws are detected around the world, mainly in impoverished communities of the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific.
  • Around 75-80% of cases affect children aged under 15.
  • It is transmitted by direct contact between small lesions in the skin with an infected person.
  • The papilloma and ulcers are highly infectious, and if not treated, patients can quickly infect other people.
  • Poverty, low socio-economic status, and a lack of drinking water, hygiene, and sanitation assist its spread.
  • It is cured with just a single oral dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic that can be found in any pharmacy and which costs less than 4.50 euros.
  • It could be eradicated, but insufficient resources are dedicated to this.

https://www.anesvad.org/en/projects/At Fundación Anesvad, we combat yaws and other skin NTDs so that those who suffer from it can emerge from oblivion and live their lives with dignity and health.

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Mikel Edeso
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