Neglected Disease

Neglected Disease

More than 1 billion men, women and children are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including leprosy and Buruli ulcer. These diseases affect the poorest and most marginalized people and can lead to:

  • Profound pain and suffering
  • Malnutrition
  • Lifelong disabilities
  • Increased poverty
  • Stigma and isolation

Disabilities caused by Leprosy

  • Buruli ulcer
  • lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis)
  • yaws
  • leishmaniasis
  • trachoma
  • Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)

Buruli Ulcer

  • Caused by bacteria related to leprosy
  • Can eat flesh and sometimes bone
  • Can cause deformity, disability, permanent scarring and fatal infections
  • 50% of victims are under the age of 15
  • Cure: 8 weeks of antibiotics
  • Severe cases require surgery and skin grafts
  • Affected people are often ostracized
  • Thousands of cases in 30 countries, mainly in West Africa

Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis)

  • Caused by parasites carried by mosquitoes
  • Can lead to severe lower limb swelling
  • 36-40 million people disabled
  • Increased poverty
  • Cure: Single doses of two medicines


  • Caused by bacteria spread person to person
  • Causes skin ulcers
  • 75-80% people affected are children
  • 60,000 cases reported per year
  • Cure: Single dose of antibiotic


  • Caused by parasites carried by sand flies
  • 1 million new cases per year
  • Can cause skin lesions
  • Can be cured


  • Caused by bacteria carried by people and flies
  • Affects eyes
  • 1.9 million people blind or visually impaired
  • Cured with antibiotics

Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)

  • Caused by parasites carried by the tsetse fly
  • 2,804 new cases reported in 2015, most in DR Congo
  • Neurological damage can lead to changes of behavior, confusion and disturbance of the sleep cycle
  • Complex treatment involving five drugs