Health topics

Neglected tropical diseases


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the cause of considerable negative health and economic impact throughout the WHO Western Pacific Region. A group of diseases caused by many different organisms, NTDs are present in approximately 30 countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region, with more than 140 million people at risk.

If left untreated, infection with NTDs can cause blindness, cognitive impairments, limitations in psychomotor development, disfigurement and even death. Families and communities suffer as those affected lose the ability to work and take part in social life. Low-cost strategies exist to treat or eliminate these diseases, a crucial step to protecting future generations from disease and disability and breaking the poverty cycle in affected areas.

In the WHO Western Pacific Region, important NTDs include: dengue, echinococcosis, foodborne trematodiases (lung and liver flukes), leishmaniasis (kala azar), leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis (snail fever), soil-transmitted helminthiases (intestinal worms), taeniasis/cysticercosis, trachoma, yaws