Commonly shared by low-income populations of Africa, Asia and the Americas, neglected tropical diseases (NTD) is a group of tropical diseases. It is sually caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms (helminths), in which they are a variety of pathogens. This kind of disease has less treatment and less funding than other well-known and deadlier diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which are common in those countries with low-income populations).
The negligence results in the NTD being classified as deadly as other major illnesses due to its devastating effect on those populations, and the fact is, it is more lethal when combined with those said major illnesses. Add in the situation wherein the treatment for NTD is expensive for such low-income populations that they cannot simply afford the said treatment, which results in the disease spreading more instead of being cured and prevented.
Due to it being around the world’s many nations, there are several types of NTDs that affect each nations’ low-income populations. Twenty of these NTDs are in top priority lists for treatments by health associations across the globe, such as the World Health Organization (WHO). However, this still differs from each country, per its own health organization, therefore, sometimes creating confusion and misunderstanding on which Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) to tackle first.
Below are some of the common NTDs currently around the globe:
- Buruli Ulcer
- Chagas disease
- Dengue & Chikungunya
- African trypanosomiasis
- Lymphatic filariasis
- Soil-transmitted helminthiasis
- Scabies & ectoparasites
- Snakebite envenoming
- Mycetoma & deep mycoses
From that list, the major NTDs considered by most health organizations are the protozoan infections (i.e. Chagas disease, Amebiasis), helminth infections (i.e. Loiasis, Lymphatic filariasis), viral infections (i.e Dengue, Yellow Fever), bacterial infections (i.e. Bartonella, Cholera), fungal infections (i.e. Eumycetoma & Paracoccidioidomycosis), and ectoparasitic infections (i.e. Scabies & Myiasis).
Symptoms would vary per disease that is listed above. It is highly advised to check with your doctor or healthcare professional about the specific symptoms and how to avoid each disease listed above.
Similarly with the symptoms, each disease will have its own diagnosis process, wherein most of those diagnoses will share the common need of doing the following procedures:
- Physical exam
- Checking for medical history and records of a patient for the previous infection (from the patient or the family/relatives of the patient)
- Laboratory tests for patients (either optional or a requirement, depending on the disease itself).
Since it is a global-scale issue, most of the world nations’ respective health organizations are working in cooperation with global health organizations such as WHO to find cures and create medications for most NTDs that have been already identified and listed by them. Most of them aim at the global eradication of most NTDs, especially some major ones, in the next ten years, since it goes along with the prevention measures they have implemented globally.