Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) include 18 diseases that WHO (World Health Organization) identifies as tropical diseases that the human race must overcome. Prominent among them are lymphatic filariasis, Chagas’ disease, and dengue fever.
NTDs are endemic in 149 countries, infecting some 1 billion people and creating serious social difficulties. Among these countries, two NTDs are endemic in 100 countries and territories, while more than six NTDs are endemic in 30 countries and territories.
Although the spread of NTDs is mainly caused by poor hygienic conditions associated with poverty, this in turn leads to declines in the work force and productivity, thereby hampering efforts to escape from impoverished conditions. Infections from these diseases may result in serious physical impairment and this often results in normal economic and social activities becoming highly challenging to the individual. In the worst cases, NTDs may also result in the death of the patient. The prevalence of NTDs is a stumbling block to economic growth for developing and emerging countries and represents a serious issue for these regions.
For information on the number of NTD patients, see:
Number of Patients: Ten Neglected Tropical Diseases included in the London Declaration
For details on these 18 diseases, please click on any of the boxes to open a new window.
WHO- Neglected Tropical Diseases April 2, 2015,
CDC- Neglected Tropical Diseases April 2, 2015,
The first step toward eradicating NTDs was selecting target diseases to be eliminated and then launching an international united front of governments and pharmaceutical companies.
On January 30, 2012, 13 major pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WHO, the U.K. and U.S. governments, the World Bank, and the governments of countries where neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are endemic jointly issued the London Declaration, forming a united front to control and eliminate 10 of 17 WHO-designated NTDs by 2020 (see chart below). This is the largest international public–private sector partnership related to access to medicines. Participants aim to control and eliminate NTDs by tackling such issues as the supply and distribution of drugs and medical products, the development of treatment, and the consolidation of health and medical infrastructures. Subsequently, the quantity of drugs shipped to NTDs endemic countries has increased nearly 36 percent from 2011 (995 million) with nearly 1.35 billion doses provided free of charge in 2013.
|Disease||Number of Patients
|Number of Those
with Infection Risk
|Blinding trachoma||84 million||600 million|
|Human African trypanosomiasis||300,000||60 million|
|Lymphatic filariasis||120 million||Approx. 1.3 billion|
|Chagas’ disease||8 to 9 million||25 million|
|The Leishmaniasis||12 million||350 million|
|Onchocerciasis||37 million||90 million|
|Schistosomiasis||207 million||Approx. 800 million|
(collective term for diseases caused by roundworm, hook worm, and whipworm etc.)
|Approx. 800 million
（registered as patients of ascariasis）
|Approx. 4.2 billion
（registered as those with risk of ascariasis）
Source : Hotez et al. NEJM357：1010-1027,2007.