Neglected Tropical Diseases: No Longer Someone Else's Problem
In The Lancet, Dr. Peter Hotez estimates that more than half of the 20 million Americans living in extreme poverty are infected with at least one neglected tropical disease.
"Although many neglected tropical diseases (eg, cysticercosis, echinococcus, toxocariasis, dengue, West Nile virus, and Chagas disease) are now present in the USA, they are not well known to the local public health authorities, and the damage done by these diseases is compounded by their predominance in poorer communities. In our news feature, Peter Hotez (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA) estimates that more than half of the 20 million Americans living in extreme poverty are infected with at least one neglected tropical disease. And the lack of surveillance of these diseases will hamper efforts at elimination. Also, this lack of interest risks making the issues worse, because the longer the organisms have to become established, the more difficult they will be to control. US authorities should reassess their priorities regarding infectious diseases, to account for these organisms. The cost of any interventions will only grow the longer action is delayed."