South Sudan’s Forgotten People and Their Forgotten Diseases

This week the community of tropical disease experts working in South Sudan is holding its collective breath over recent news of ethnic attacks, a potential for civil war, and the prospect that a public health tragedy could soon emerge in the region.

A landlocked country about the size of Texas but with a population density equivalent to Utah or Nevada, South Sudan is a sparsely settled, highly rural, and profoundly poor tropical developing nation. Such conditions of extreme poverty and hot climate create the perfect storm for tropical diseases to flourish. Indeed, almost all of the 17 major neglected tropical diseases currently recognized by the World Health Organization are found in South Sudan.

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