Stopping Guinea Worm Infection

I was deeply shocked and saddened to read about the widespread and very serious problem of guinea worm infection {International, April 24} in "India, Pakistan and 18 African countries," described by former President Jimmy Carter. I would like to contribute in some way to eradicating this painful disease, and I am sure many other readers feel the same way. Cheryl E. White Rockville

Editor's note: Contributions can be mailed to the Carter Presidential Center, 1 Copen Hill, Atlanta, Ga. 30307. Checks should be marked for the guinea worm project.

Fight Tooth Decay the Modern Way

A few comments regarding the recent article for children on why cavities don't have to happen {How & Why, April 24}: Despite brushing, flossing, sealants, fluoride and dental care, tooth decay is still prevalent.

This is unfortunate, since strep mutans was isolated as the primary cause of tooth decay in 1960. Strep mutans is contagious and infectious. It is spread easily any way saliva is exchanged. It can be tested for and easily eliminated by anti-microbial measures readily available.

Tooth decay could be wiped out in short order if it were treated as an infection of pathological bacteria rather than a mechanical problem resulting from normal bacteria. Joseph Davidson, DDS Columbia

Bone Marrow Transplants: Not Too Risky

As a survivor of an autologous (self-donated) bone marrow transplant for recurrent Hodgkins' disease, I feel that Larry Thompson does a fine job explaining the gamble of bone marrow transplants {Cover, April 24}, but when he refers to the needles used to extract bone marrow from donors as "steel spikes," this only serves to instill fear in potential donors. As he notes later in the article, the risk to donors is negligible.

Also, those in search of a donor match should not limit their search to the two registries in the United States discussed in the accompanying article. There is, for example, a large donor registry in London. Bill Soiffer San Francisco

Sweating on Company Time?

As with other articles on the sponsorship of fitness by companies or governmental agencies, the article on the boom in exercise at work {Health Plus, May 8} ignores the obviously related issue of whether the sponsored fitness programs are on company or government time or on the employee's own time.

The point is that some are going to do what is necessary to be fit, regardless of the obstacles, and some will not pursue a fitness regimen, regardless of the incentives. There is, however, a vast middle group that will respond to incentives, depending on what they are. Being granted work time for exercise is an incentive that few but the most inert could resist.

Sufficient time for a jog on an extended lunch period is far more important than any expensive facilities, other than showers and lockers. John F. Leary Great Falls

Letters intended for publications must be signed and include the writer's home address and home and business telephone numbers. Letters may be edited. Although we are unable to acknowledge all letters, we appreciate the time and value the viewpoints of those who write. Send letters to Health Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.