Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of 17 chronic and disabling infections that affect more than 1 billion people worldwide. While these diseases have been wiped out from areas with good living conditions and hygiene, they are considered neglected as they continue to flourish in impoverished communities: urban slums, conflict zones, and remote rural areas. The tropics provide the perfect environment for these communicable diseases, and it is not uncommon for them to co-exist.
With children being the most susceptible to infection, NTDs contribute to an ongoing cycle of poverty and stigma that leave people unable to work, go to school or participate in family and community activities.
Most of these diseases are spread by insect vectors, however, basic measures such as improved water supply, sanitation, and access to basic health care can control them from spreading.
To date, the greatest achievement for disease elimination has been seen with Guinea Worm. When the campaign for eradication began in 1986, there were 21 endemic countries and 3.5 million cases of Guinea Worm. Today there are 4 endemic countries and approximately 150 cases left. It is expected to be the first parasitic disease to be eradicated.
The 17 NTDs according to the World Health Organization:
Soil mediated Helminthiases
Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)
Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)
Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm)