Neglected tropical diseases

Dracunculiasis: 11 confirmed human cases reported from 3 out of 4 remaining endemic countries

22 August 2016 | Geneva −− The number of confirmed human cases of dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) rises to 11 with 5 cases reported from Chad – the highest number so far from a single country endemic for the disease. Chad has also seen a significant increase in the number of dogs infected with the worm.
In South Sudan, surveillance activities have continued in almost all endemic villages despite safety concerns by the country’s Guinea-Worm Eradication Programme although the recent escalation of the conflict there remains a major concern.

©WHO. WHO staff delivering supplies to Juba Teaching Hospital
in response to the conflict in Juba, August 2016

Sleeping sickness: WHO scales-up data management training amid record low cases

10 August 2016 | Geneva –– Over the past 15 years, WHO-supported national control programmes have substantially decreased new cases of human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) largely through the application of existing control tools.

To sustain progress, WHO is supporting the training of health officers in data analysis and mapping.

The aim is to expand knowledge on the management of information on the occurrence and geographical distribution of the disease.

©Ruiz Postigo J. A.
Member of a mobile laboratory team proceeding with the puncture of lymph nodes for microscopic detection of trypanosomes

Experts lay groundwork for new global response to vector-borne diseases

5 August 2016 | Geneva –– The rate at which vector-borne diseases is spreading around the world calls for a fundamental rethink of vector control well beyond outbreak response to more fundamental and sustained control interventions.

A two-day meeting of experts at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva has initiated the development of a new Global Vector Control Response to mitigate the threat posed by these diseases.

©Enrique De la Osa/Reuters
Outdoor space spraying for control of Aedes mosquitoes

WHO leads multi-country study to simplify oral treatment of yaws

29 July 2016 | Geneva –– A study in Ghana and Papua New Guinea will determine if a lower dose of the antibiotic, azithromycin, is effective in curing yaws - a chronic skin disease that mainly affects children.
A lower dose is currently being used to treat trachoma, a disease of the eye. If efficacy of a yaws low dose is established, it can be a win-win situation to simultaneously tackle both diseases of poverty.
The researcher who discovered that a single dose of oral azithromycin against yaws recently appealed for free donation of tablets to accelerate eradication of the disease.

© National Yaws Eradication Programme
Health workers using rapid point-of-care tests during a yaws study in Ghana

India's triumph over yaws adds momentum to global eradication

14 July 2016 | Geneva / New Delhi – WHO has urged countries that remain endemic for yaws to emulate the success of India and accelerate efforts to interrupt transmission by 2020.
Today, a patient can easily be cured of yaws through a single-dose tablet of azithromycin; treatment can be given simultaneously to all people at risk of the disease in affected communities.
India eliminated yaws using injectable penicillin. Today's celebration in New Delhi also marked the success of the country in eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus as a public health problem.


Religious communities unite to address leprosy-associated stigmatization and discrimination

24 June 2016 | Vatican City | New Delhi | Geneva -- Major religions of the world can contribute to address the social dimension of leprosy control, support positive attitudes and promote a more humane, accommodating approach.
Erroneous customs and beliefs throughout history ostracized people who suffered from leprosy and compounded stigmatization and discrimination. This is one of the messages that emerged from an international symposium held in the Vatican City on 9 −10 June 2016.

©Alamy Stock Photo

WHO to implement online epidemiological surveillance for leishmaniasis

21 June 2016 | Geneva −− The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the use of a new data system to ensure the accurate, sustained flow of information for leishmaniasis.

An improved dissemination and understanding of the problem posed by all forms of the disease can greatly help control programmes and allow countries to improve their surveillance systems.
Data from 25 countries with high disease prevalence show an estimated 399 million people are at risk of cutaneous leishmaniasis in 11 countries, while 556 million are exposed to visceral leishmaniasis 12 countries.

© UNAMA/Fraidoon Poya

fact buffet


99%of people infected live mostly in rural areas of 31 African countries.

Fact sheet on onchocerciasis

Chagas disease

8 millionpeople estimated to be infected worldwide, mostly in Latin America.

Fact sheet on Chagas disease


22 casesoccurred in 2015 in only 4 countries in Africa.

Fact sheet on guinea-worm disease

One of the biggest challenges in the control of the Aedes Egypti mosquito is its adaptation and resilience. Watch Dr. Raman Velayudhan’s comments.