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Tropical diseases are diseases that are prevalent in or unique to tropical and subtropical regions. The diseases are less prevalent in temperate climates, due in part to the occurrence of a cold season, which controls the insect population by forcing hibernation. However, many were present in northern Europe and northern America in the 17th and 18th centuries before modern understanding of disease causation. The initial impetus for tropical medicine was to protect the health of colonial settlers, notably in India under the British Raj. Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are by far the most common disease carrier, or vector. These insects may carry a parasite, bacterium or virus that is infectious to humans and animals. Most often disease is transmitted by an insect "bite", which causes transmission of the infectious agent through subcutaneous blood exchange. Vaccines are not available for most of the diseases listed here, and many do not have cures.
TDR's vision is to foster an effective global research effort on infectious diseases of poverty in which disease endemic countries play a pivotal role. It has a dual mission of developing new tools and strategies against these diseases, and to develop the research and leadership capacity in the countries where the diseases occur. The TDR secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland, but the work is conducted throughout the world through many partners and funded grants.
Some examples of work include helping to develop new treatments for diseases, such as ivermectin for onchocerciasis (river blindness); showing how packaging can improve use of artemesinin-combination treatment (ACT) for malaria; demonstrating the effectiveness of bednets to prevent mosquito bites and malaria; and documenting how community-based and community-led programmes increases distribution of multiple treatments. TDR history
The current TDR disease portfolio includes the following entries:
or sleeping sickness, is a parasiticdisease, caused by protozoa called trypansomes. The two responsible for African trypanosomiasis are Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. These parasites are transmitted by the tsetse fly.
is a parasitic disease caused by thread-like parasitic filarial worms called nematodes, all transmitted by mosquitoes. Loa loa is another filarial parasite transmitted by the deer fly. 120 million people are infected worldwide. It is carried by over half the population in the most severe endemic areas. The most noticeable symptom is elephantiasis: a thickening of the skin and underlying tissues. Elephantiasis is caused by chronic infection by filarial worms in the lymph nodes. This clogs the lymph nodes and slows the draining of lymph fluid from a portion of the body.
Caused by a Protozoanparasites transmitted by female Anophelesmosquitoes, as they are the blood-feeders. The disease is caused by species of the genus Plasmodium. Malaria infected an estimated 190-311 million people in 2008 and 708,000-1,003,000 died mostly in Sub-Sahara Africa.
or river blindness is the world's second leading infectious cause of blindness. It is caused by Onchocerca volvulus, a parasitic worm. It is transmitted through the bite of a black fly. The worms spread throughout the body, and when they die, they cause intense itching and a strong immune system response that can destroy nearby tissue, such as the eye. About 18 million people are currently infected with this parasite. Approximately 300,000 have been irreversibly blinded by it.
also known as schisto or snail fever, is a parasitic disease caused by several species of flatworm in areas with freshwater snails, which may carry the parasite. The most common form of transmission is by wading or swimming in lakes, ponds and other bodies of water containing the snails and the parasite. More than 200 million people worldwide are infected by schistosomiasis.
(abbreviated as TB), is a bacterial infection of the lungs or other tissues, which is highly prevalent in the world, with mortality over 50% if untreated. It is a communicable disease, transmitted by aerosol expectorant from a cough, sneeze, speak, kiss, or spit. Over one-third of the world's population has been infected by the TB bacterium.
†Although leprosy and tuberculosis are not exclusively tropical diseases, their high incidence in the tropics justifies their inclusion.
Some tropical diseases are very rare, but may occur in sudden epidemics, such as the Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever and the Marburg virus. There are hundreds of different tropical diseases which are less known or rarer, but that, nonetheless, have importance for public health.
Relation of climate to tropical diseases
The so-called "exotic" diseases in the tropics have long been noted both by travelers, explorers, etc., as well as by physicians. One obvious reason is that the hot climate present during all the year and the larger volume of rains directly affect the formation of breeding grounds, the larger number and variety of natural reservoirs and animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans (zoonosis), the largest number of possible insectvectors of diseases. It is possible also that higher temperatures may favor the replication of pathogenic agents both inside and outside biological organisms. Socio-economic factors may be also in operation, since most of the poorest nations of the world are in the tropics. Tropical countries like Brazil, which have improved their socio-economic situation and invested in hygiene, public health and the combat of transmissible diseases have achieved dramatic results in relation to the elimination or decrease of many endemic tropical diseases in their territory.
Climate change, global warming caused by the greenhouse effect, and the resulting increase in global temperatures, are possibly causing tropical diseases and vectors to spread to higher altitudes in mountainous regions, and to higher latitudes that were previously spared, such as the Southern United States, the Mediterranean area, etc. For example, in the Monteverde cloud forest of Costa Rica, global warming enabled Chytridiomycosis, a tropical disease, to flourish and thus force into decline amphibian populations of the Monteverde Harlequin frog. Here, global warming raised the heights of orographic cloud formation, and thus produced cloud cover that would facilitate optimum growth conditions for the implicated pathogen, B. dendrobatidis.
Sanitation to prevent transmission through human waste.
In situations where vectors (such as mosquitoes) have become more numerous as a result of human activity, a careful investigation can provide clues: for example, open dumps can contain stagnant water that encourage disease vectors to breed. Eliminating these dumps can address the problem. An education campaign can yield significant benefits at low cost.
Pharmacologic pre-exposure prophylaxis (to prevent disease before exposure to the environment and/or vector).
Pharmacologic post-exposure prophylaxis (to prevent disease after exposure to the environment and/or vector).
Pharmacologic treatment (to treat disease after infection or infestation).
Assisting with economic development in endemic regions. For example, by providing microloans to enable investments in more efficient and productive agriculture. This in turn can help subsistence farming to become more profitable, and these profits can be used by local populations for disease prevention and treatment, with the added benefit of reducing the poverty rate.
^Kenneth J. Ryan and C. George Ray, Sherris Medical Microbiology Fourth Edition McGraw Hill 2004.
^Leviticus 13:59, Artscroll Tanakh and Metsudah Chumash translations, 1996 and 1994, respectively.
^Supali, T.; Ismid, I.S.; Wibowo, H.; Djuardi, Y.; Majawati, E.; Ginanjar, P.; Fischer, P. (Aug 2006). "Estimation of the prevalence of lymphatic filariasis by a pool screen PCR assay using blood spots collected on filter paper". Tran R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 100 (8): 753–9. doi:10.1016/j.trstmh.2005.10.005. ISSN0035-9203. PMID16442578.
^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-03-24. Retrieved 2008-03-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) The World Bank | Global Partnership to Eliminate Riverblindness. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
^Hotez, P. J.; Molyneux, DH; Fenwick, A; Kumaresan, J; Sachs, SE; Sachs, JD; Savioli, L (September 2007). "Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases". The New England Journal of Medicine. 357 (10): 1018–1027. doi:10.1056/NEJMra064142. ISSN0028-4793. PMID17804846. 17804846.