When you think of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), you think of diseases occurring in poor and developing countries. NTDs perpetuate a cycle of poverty that continues from generation to generation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Neglected Tropical Diseases are a medically diverse group of infections caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths. The 17 neglected tropical diseases prioritized by WHO affect more than 1 billion people worldwide and are endemic in 149 countries.
The 17 NTDs according to the WHO include Dengue/Severe dengue, Rabies, Chagas disease, Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Leishmaniases, Cysticercosis/Taeniasis, Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), Echinococcosis, Foodborne trematodiases, Lymphatic filariasis, Onchocerciasis (river blindness), Schistosomiasis, Soil-transmitted helminthiases, Buruli ulcer, Leprosy (Hansen disease), Trachoma and Yaws.
Despite many Americans believing that neglected diseases only occur in the poorest of the poor nations, in March the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named the five Neglected Parasitic Infections (NPI) that the federal health agency has targeted as priorities for public health action, based on the following three factors: Number of people infected, severity of the illnesses and the ability to prevent and treat them.
The five NPI are Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, and trichomoniasis. These five parasitic infections are considered neglected because relatively little attention has been devoted to their surveillance, prevention, and/or treatment.