Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of preventable and treatable parasitic, viral, and bacterial diseases that affect more than one billion people globally.

Children in American Samoa wait to participate in mass drug administration (MDA) for lymphatic filariasis (LF) using the recommended triple-drug regimen of ivermectin, DEC, and albendazole. Credit: Kimberly Won/CDC

Children in American Samoa wait to participate in mass drug administration (MDA) for lymphatic filariasis (LF) using the recommended triple-drug regimen of ivermectin, DEC, and albendazole.

Credit: Kimberly Won/CDC

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) cause devastating health and economic problems for the world’s poorest people, maintaining a cycle of poverty and disease.

NTDs cause disability that hinders school attendance, care of families, and earning wages. They disrupt productivity and already unstable economies.

Several NTDs can be controlled or eliminated through straightforward community level interventions such as mass drug administration (MDA) or simple water filtration. MDA efforts leverage $26 billion in donated drugs.

Lymphatic filariasis (Elephantiasis)

Lymphatic filariasis (Elephantiasis)

Blinding trachoma

Blinding trachoma

Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)

Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)

Schistosomiasis (Snail Fever)

Schistosomiasis (Snail Fever)

Blinding trachoma

Soil-transmitted helminths (Hookworm, Roundworm, Whipworm)

Demonstrated Success

Scale up of proven interventions has led to:

  • 649 million people no longer requiring treatment for lymphatic filariasis (LF)
  • 1.38 billion people no longer requiring treatment for trachoma
  • Less than 30 Guinea worm infections in 2020, down from 3.5 million in the 1980s

In 2021, 42 countries have eliminated at least 1 NTD

CDC’s Efforts:

CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria translates science into action.

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Researching better laboratory surveillance tools and making them ready for use by country programs where these diseases are being eliminated

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Assisting countries with implementing their programs and using new tools

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Providing global scientific leadership on NTD elimination through collaborations with World Health Organization and others

Spotlight on Key CDC Accomplishments and Activities

  • Developed a new blood test to more easily assess trachoma transmission in a community
  • Strengthening capacity in labs in Africa
  • Developing lab-based surveillance strategies, including leading efforts to implement integrated surveillance to detect more than 30 parasitic, viral, and bacterial diseases from a single, small blood sample
  • Providing support to American Samoa and Haiti to eliminate LF
  • Using data to strengthen disease elimination efforts for LF, river blindness, and schistosomiasis
  • Serving as World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for Guinea worm disease and blinding trachoma

What’s Needed

  • Continue scale up of proven interventions in countries
  • Expand and strengthen surveillance for data-driven decision making
  • Develop and deploy new diagnostic tools and approaches
  • Assist countries that have not yet reached elimination
For more information

To learn more about CDC’s work to prevent, control, and eliminate parasitic diseases, visit www.cdc.gov/parasites

Download Printable Overview Factsheet
Page last reviewed: January 30, 2020
Content source: Global Health