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Int J Parasitol. 2014 Aug;44(9):597-603. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.04.001. Epub 2014 May 15.

Neglected tropical diseases in Central America and Panama: review of their prevalence, populations at risk and impact on regional development.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States; Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States; Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, Houston, TX, United States; James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, Houston, TX, United States. Electronic address: hotez@bcm.edu.
2
Department of Medicine, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States.
3
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States; Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States; Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, Houston, TX, United States.

Abstract

A review of the literature since 2009 reveals a staggering health and economic burden resulting from neglected tropical diseases in Panama and the six countries of Central America (referred to collectively here as 'Central America'). Particularly at risk are the 10.2million people in the region who live on less than $2 per day, mostly in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Indigenous populations are especially vulnerable to neglected tropical diseases. Currently, more than 8million Central American children require mass drug treatments annually (or more frequently) for their intestinal helminth infections, while vector-borne diseases are widespread. Among the vector-borne parasitic infections, almost 40% of the population is at risk for malaria (mostly Plasmodium vivax infection), more than 800,000 people live with Chagas disease, and up to 39,000 people have cutaneous leishmaniasis. In contrast, an important recent success story is the elimination of onchocerciasis from Central America. Dengue is the leading arbovirus infection with 4-5million people affected annually and hantavirus is an important rodent-borne viral neglected tropical disease. The leading bacterial neglected tropical diseases include leptospirosis and trachoma, for which there are no disease burden estimates. Overall there is an extreme dearth of epidemiological data on neglected tropical diseases based on active surveillance as well as estimates of their economic impact. Limited information to date, however, suggests that neglected tropical diseases are a major hindrance to the region's economic development, in both the most impoverished Central American countries listed above, as well as for Panama and Costa Rica where a substantial (but largely hidden) minority of people live in extreme poverty.

KEYWORDS:

Central America; Cutaneous leishmaniasis; Dengue; Intestinal helminth infections; Malaria; NTDs; Neglected tropical diseases; Panama

PMID:
24846528
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.04.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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