While global attention in West Africa is focused on the emergence of Ebola virus infection, new information from the published literature and World Health Organization databases reveals that many other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are far more widespread and also require urgent attention.
Currently the four nations under threat by Boko Haram account for approximately one third each of the 169 million people at risk for onchocerciasis (river blindness, and the estimated 472 million people who require mass treatment for lymphatic filariasis (LF), elephantiasis, in Africa. Moreover, transmission of Gambian human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) still occurs in Cameroon, Chad, and possibly Niger.
Hotez et al.
An onchocerciasis vaccine for Africa would build on past investments in OCP and APOC and support future investments planned under PENDA to help achieve elimination of onchocerciasis. TOVA has begun to explore innovative financing mechanisms from major foundations, governments in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, as well as some of the major development banks committed to poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. We strongly encourage the global public health community to embrace the prospect of an onchocerciasis vaccine and to incorporate plans for a vaccine’s development into future public policy and strategic plan considerations.
A new finding from an extensive study of intestinal helminth infections in sub-Saharan Africa, which was led by scientists at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute estimates that, of the 800 million people who live in sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 130 million (16%) suffer from human hookworm infection.
At least a half dozen possible Ebola vaccines that have protected nonhuman primates are entering early clinical trials for safety. What’s the fastest way to determine which one is most effective?
By Peter Hotez and Jennifer Herricks
According to the latest (November 28) figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 6,000 people have died so far in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, with estimates that the deaths will easily exceed 7,000 deaths before year’s end.
There is no question that Ebola virus infection is one of the most lethal of all of the neglected tropical disease (NTD) pathogens, but on a global scale there are a number of other NTDs that also cause large numbers of deaths.