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Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2009 Sep-Oct;51(5):247-53.

Neglected tropical diseases in Brazil.

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SES, Instituto de Infectologia Emílio Ribas, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.


Poverty is intrinsically related to the incidence of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The main countries that have the lowest human development indices (HDI) and the highest burdens of NTDs are located in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Among these countries is Brazil, which is ranked 70th in HDI. Nine out of the ten NTDs established by the World Health Organization (WHO) are present in Brazil. Leishmaniasis, tuberculosis, dengue fever and leprosy are present over almost the entire Brazilian territory. More than 90% of malaria cases occur in the Northern region of the country, and lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis occur in outbreaks in a particular region. The North and Northeast regions of Brazil have the lowest HDIs and the highest rates of NTDs. These diseases are considered neglected because there is not important investment in projects for the development of new drugs and vaccines and existing programs to control these diseases are not sufficient. Another problem related to NTDs is co-infection with HIV, which favors the occurrence of severe clinical manifestations and therapeutic failure. In this article, we describe the status of the main NTDs currently occurring in Brazil and relate them to the HDI and poverty.

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