Jimmy Carter

ATLANTA - Former President Jimmy Carter is scheduled to give an update on the battle against Guinea worm disease, an excruciating illness that culminates in worms emerging from a victim's skin.

Carter is set to give the update Thursday at the Atlanta-based Carter Center, which said the fight to eradicate the disease is nearing a tipping point.

The Georgia Democrat said last year that fewer than 3,500 worldwide cases of the disease were reported, all in the African countries of Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mali. That's a dramatic drop from the 3.5 million cases in 20 nations that were reported when the Carter Center's eradication began in 1986.