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Home Industry News Merck Sharp and Dohme helps Guatemala to eliminate river blindness

Merck Sharp and Dohme helps Guatemala to eliminate river blindness

3rd October 2016

Merck Sharp and Dohme has welcomed the news that the country of Guatemala has succeeded in its efforts to eliminate river blindness.

The nation has become the fourth in the Latin American region to receive World Health Organization (WHO) verification of the elimination of river blindness, which is also known as onchocerciasis.

This comes after a concerted effort by an international coalition, formed by The Carter Center, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), WHO and Merck Sharp and Dohme, to push for the eradication of the disease in the Americas.

Merck's contribution to this effort has involved donations of the drug Mectizan, a safe and highly effective agent approved for mass treatment of both onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, two of the world's most disfiguring and disabling tropical diseases.

Kenneth Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck Sharp and Dohme, said: "Until river blindness is entirely eliminated around the world, we remain committed to working with our partners in the fight against this preventable disease."

This means four of the six countries in the Americas historically at greatest risk for river blindness have now verified elimination of the condition.

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