The open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases is publishing an article emphasizing the rising burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Central Asia. According to the article's co-authors, Dr. Peter Hotez, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Dr. Ken Alibek of Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, the region continues to suffer from a post-Soviet economic breakdown that may have contributed to a re-emergence of several NTDs in the area, especially among its most economically disadvantaged groups.
Specifically, the five mostly landlocked Central Asian countries created after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- became increasingly vulnerable to NTDs due to a deterioration of health care services and infrastructure. Among the prevalent diseases profiled in the article, the following was highlighted:
Dr. Hotez, who also serves as the director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute & Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development and was recently named the founding dean of the first national school of tropical medicine, located at Baylor College of Medicine, said, "There appears to be an overall absence of detailed information on the prevalence of many of these neglected diseases in Central Asia."
Hotez and Alibek also suggest that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria should consider how to best integrate NTDs into their control and elimination programs in order to help ease the burden caused by NTDs.
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