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WHO Warns Of Dengue’s Spread, Says Progress Made Against NTDs In New Report

“Dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a ‘pandemic threat,’ infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. In a statement, the WHO said dengue “register[ed] a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years,” and the agency noted though malaria causes more deaths, its incidence is declining, the news service adds. Speaking at a news briefing marking the WHO’s release of areport (.pdf) on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), Raman Velayudhan, a WHO NTD specialist, said, “You have to bear in mind that [dengue] has no treatment and vaccines are still in the research stage,” according to Reuters (Nebehay, 1/16).

In the publication, titled “Sustaining the drive to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases,” the “WHO reports unprecedented progress against 17 neglected tropical diseases, thanks to a new global strategy, a regular supply of quality assured, cost-effective medicines and support from global partners,” a WHO press release states. “The publication charts progress in controlling, eliminating and eradicating these [NTDs]. Two are targeted for global eradication, dracunculiasis (guinea worm disease) in 2015 and yaws in 2020,” the press release says, adding, “The report outlines six targets set for the elimination of five diseases in 2015 and a further 10 targets for nine diseases for 2020, either globally or in selected geographical areas” (1/16). Uniting to Combat NTDs, a group of organizations focused on fighting NTDs, also released a report on Wednesday, titled “From Promises to Progress,” to mark the first anniversary of the London Declaration, “which brought public and private partners together under the shared goal of controlling and eliminating 10 NTDs by 2020,” a press release from the group states (1/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.