United States Representative Hank Johnson, Jr. introduced a bill before Congress today that will target the elimination of neglected infections of poverty (NIOPs) in the US. The “Neglected Infections of Impoverished Americans Act of 2010” or H.R. 5986, would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report to Congress annually on the impact of NIOPs, their threat and to make funding recommendations on how to eradicate them.
NIOPs are debilitating parasitic, bacterial, and congenital infections which disproportionately affect poor and minority populations in the US. The major NIOPs include toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, trichomoniasis, congenital cytomegalovirus, cysticercosis, and Chagas disease (3 T’s and 3 C’s). The diseases have an especially great impact on the health and well being of women and children, impairing learning and productivity.
In a paper published in 2008 in the Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases, Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez reported on the surprisingly high rates of parasitic infections among poor and minority populations in the US.
“These are diseases that we know are at least as important as H1N1,” Dr. Hotez said in a statement. “Yet, they are on no one’s radar. These are not exotic diseases found only in developing countries. They are right here in our communities, and this legislation is desperately needed to help get a grasp on their impact.”
Read the full press release here.
July 30th, 2010
From the University of Notre Dame newswire:
James Parsons and Dr. Carrie Quinn, a married couple and graduates of the University of Notre Dame, have made a $5 million gift to their alma mater to endow the directorship of the University’s Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases.
“The work of Notre Dame researchers in the area of rare and neglected diseases is perfectly suited to our Catholic mission and is one of our top priorities,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., University president. “We are immensely grateful to Jim and Carrie for this generous gift, which will contribute immeasurably to our efforts to increase awareness, enhance research, find cures and, most importantly, bring hope to families afflicted with these forgotten diseases.”
Read more: Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases at University of Notre Dame Recieves a $5 million gift from James Parsons and Carrie Quinn
July 29th, 2010
By: Alanna Shaikh
At this point, it almost fails to be news when we see an outbreak of an NTD on US soil. Especially in Florida, which doesn’t need much by way of climate change to be an excellent host for tropical diseases, neglected or otherwise. Nonetheless, a new outbreak of dengue fever in Florida is a scary sign for the future of global health.
As the fantastic humanosphere blog points out, dengue fever currently threatens one third of the world’s population and it’s the fastest-growing mosquito-borne disease in the world. It goes on to say that “Epidemics of both dengue and DHF are now routine in many parts of Latin America only several generations after the mosquito-borne virus was first identified there.” That is terrifying. The virus arrived and then just three generations later it’s an epidemic? That reminds me of HIV, among other frightening infectious diseases.
A bioclimatologist1 is quoted on Reuters blaming both increased travel among nations and climate change for Florida’s new vulnerability to Dengue. That’s a pattern we’ve seen strongly before as the NTDs go global. They travel more easily because of modern transport, and they can survive upon arrival because of climate change.
Read more: Dengue fever outbreak in Florida
July 28th, 2010
Today marks the release of Dr. Peter Hotezs latest publication in the peer-reviewed open-access journal PLoS Medicine. Dr. Hotez, Distinguished Researcher and President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, co-authored the editorial with Dr. Simon Brooker and Donald Bundy called The Global Atlas of Helminth Infection: Mapping the Way Forward in Neglected Tropical Disease Control. The paper discusses the importance of taking full advantage of recent increased financial commitments from governments, international agencies, and philanthropies by accurately mapping neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This improvement in mapping would include better diagnostic tools and new methods of surveillance of these infectious diseases, which at times have been lackluster according to the authors, in efforts to control and eliminate them.
The authors also highlight a project, the Global Atlas of Helminth Infection (GAHI), which will provide open-access information on the distribution of soil-transmitted helminthiases and schistosomiasis. The GAHI will also highlight the geographical areas where further survey information is required via the GAHI website.
Visit PLoS Medicine to read the full article.