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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 642832, 15 pages
Review Article

Yaws in the Western Pacific Region: A Review of the Literature

1World Health Organization, Office of the WHO Representative for Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Singapore, P.O. Box 12550, 50782 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA

Received 8 April 2011; Revised 31 August 2011; Accepted 21 September 2011

Academic Editor: Subhash Parija

Copyright © 2011 Corinne Capuano and Masayo Ozaki. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Until the middle of the 20th century, yaws was highly endemic and considered a serious public health problem in the Western Pacific Region (WPR), leading to intensive control efforts in the 1950s–1960s. Since then, little attention has been paid to its reemergence. Its current burden is unknown. This paper presents the results of an extensive literature review, focusing on yaws in the South Pacific. Available records suggest that the region remains largely free of yaws except for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Many clinical cases reported recently were described as “attenuated”; advanced stages are rare. A single intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin is still effective in curing yaws. In the Pacific, yaws may be amenable to elimination if adequate resources are provided and political commitment revived. A mapping of yaws prevalence in PNG, Solomon, and Vanuatu is needed before comprehensive country-tailored strategies towards yaws elimination can be developed.