New data estimates 500 million in Africa Burdened by NTDs

August 25th, 2009 by Erin Hohlfelder Leave a reply

Centers for Disease Control lab tech Henry Bishop holding a mass of Ascaris lumbricoides worms, which had been passed by a child in Kenya, Africa. (Photo courtesy CDC-PHIL)

Center for Disease Control lab tech Henry Bishop holding a mass of Ascaris lumbricoides worms, which had been passed by a child in Kenya, Africa. (Photo courtesy CDC-PHIL)

An analysis published today in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases sheds new light on the toll that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) take on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with an estimated 500 million people suffering from these debilitating and sometimes deadly diseases.

It is appalling that helminth infections and other NTDs are having such a devastating impact on the poor in sub-Saharan Africa, given that we have effective treatments to alleviate their sufferings, said Dr. Peter Hotez, co-author of the analysis, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Distinguished Research Professor at George Washington University.  For $200-$400 million a year over five years, we could significantly reduce the burden of helminth infections and other NTDs from much of sub-Saharan Africa. Thats a minimal investment with maximum returns.

The authors note that NTDs in SSA may produce a level of disease equivalent to, or as much as, one-half and one-third of the regions malaria and HIV/AIDs disease burden, respectively, suggesting that the NTDs represent a formidable public health challenge in the region.

The authors also say that high priority must be placed on examining the impact that reducing helminth infections might have on malaria and HIV/AIDS. In many parts of SSA, helminths are co-endemic with malaria, worsening the course of the disease; in others, schistosomiasis causes genital lesions and may increase a womans susceptibility to HIV/AIDS.

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2 comments

  • Polprav says:

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