There is a group of infectious diseases that many people living in developed countries rarely encounter or hear about. These are neglected tropical diseases and are often referred to as diseases of poverty.
They include trachoma, river blindness, intestinal worms and other debilitating, painful, and sometimes deadly illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, these diseases infect one in seven people, including 875 million children, and are responsible for more than 500,000 deaths each year.
Neglected tropical diseases are directly linked to continuing cycles of poverty. They can result in blindness, chronic pain, severe disability and malnutrition, keeping children from attending school and adults from being able to work, severely limiting economic productivity in some of the poorest communities in the world.