Authors: Andy Gibson (Mission Rabies)
Unlike many other neglected tropical diseases, rabies elimination is achievable and cost-effective, but decades of research have failed to translate into multi-national efforts in the worst-affected areas. So why is the ancient rabies virus still terrorizing the lives of so many people across the globe?
The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of 20 diseases that continue to circulate amongst the poorest communities of the world. The people affected often have little capacity to take control of the situation themselves due a lack of finances, education or access to timely treatment and so have no choice but to live with the painful, disfiguring and often fatal consequences of NTDs. The pantheon of NTDs makes for grim reading, including Lymphatic Filariasis, which causes extreme disfigurement known as elephantitis, leprosy resulting in loss of sensation to the skin and onchocerciasis (River Blindness) leading to blindness from larvae migrating through the cornea.