According to a new analysis published September 24th in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, "The Neglected Tropical Diseases of Latin America and the Caribbean: A Review of Disease Burden and Distribution and a Roadmap for Control And Elimination,", neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as a group may have surpassed HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as the most prevalent infectious diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean. The analysis found that NTDs are the most common infections of approximately 200 million of the poorest people in the region. They include tens of millions of cases of intestinal worm infections, and almost 10 million cases of Chagas disease, as well as schistosomiasis, trachoma, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), and onchocerciasis.
NTDs produce extreme poverty by adversely impacting child development, pregnancy outcomes and worker productivity. In some cases in Latin America and the Caribbean, NTDs also represent a living legacy of slavery, because they were first introduced into the region through the global slave trade, and even today they predominantly affect people of African descent and indigenous groups, as well as other vulnerable groups such as women and children.
"Our findings indicate that the combined disease burden of NTDs in Latin America and Caribbean appears to exceed that of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria. Yet, we have the proven effective, low cost tools at our fingertips to eliminate at least three of this devastating diseases," said one of the authors of the analysis Dr. Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.P., President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Walter G. Ross Professor and Chair of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University and co-author of the analysis. "It's time to invest in this region and end the needless suffering."
The analysis states that in the coming years, schistosomiasis transmission c
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