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ID week factsheet: Neglected tropical diseases

Monday's Global Health Factsheet – Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases constitute a great global health burden, affecting more than a billion people in 149 countries (WHO). Neglected tropical diseases or NTDs are a diverse group of infections affecting some of the world’s poorest regions, and are thus often “neglected” in terms of awareness, resources and treatment options. In this way those affected are more vulnerable and less likely to receive adequate treatment.

The World Health Organisation currently lists 20 diseases as NTDs, including dengue, leishmaniasis, leprosy and rabies, with novel additions of snakebite envenoming and mycetoma.

Strategies have been put in place to combat NTDs, for example preventive chemotherapy, which works to prevent lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases and trachoma. It involves a total of six pharmaceutical treatments in different combinations to prevent infection. Over one billion people received preventative chemotherapy in 2018 showing benefits such as the elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a “public health problem” in Egypt. The continuation of these initiatives are crucial in preventing the spread of such diseases which can have devastating effects on individuals and communities worldwide.

Source: WHO publications.

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