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We are reminded yet again why global health issues matter for Americans with recent news coverage of a possible tuberculosis outbreak at a Virginia high school that may have affected over 430 faculty and students. Health officials are recommending that all individuals at the school be tested for the disease. Tuberculosis bacteria Photo credit: CDC/ Dr. Ray Butler Historically, tuberculosis has been the world’€™s greatest infectious killer, taking an estimated billion lives over the past 200 years. Tuberculosis remains a global threat today ’€“ in 2011 alone, the disease sickened 8.7 million people. Even more alarming is the rise of drug-resistant forms of the disease. WHO estimates that...
Leading researchers discuss emerging health threats at panel discussion During a panel discussion today at Tulane University’€™s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, hosted by Research!America, several researchers and leading public health experts said the nation must increase public awareness and research to address the emergence of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the U.S. NTDs, commonly associated with the developing world, have recently been identified in many parts of the country including Louisiana. Factors such as increased globalization, trade, migration, urban sprawl or climate change have been cited as potential underlying causes for the emergence of NTDs in the U.S...
Nearly 11% of the world’€™s population does not have access to clean drinking water. This represents a tremendous burden on global health, as almost 2 million children die from water-borne illnesses each year. Improvements in sanitation and the availability of clean water are essential to improve health around the world. America has been a leader in clean water legislation and water-borne disease research. The late Paul G. Rogers, Research!America’€™s former chair, was a key leader in the passage of environmental legislation, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, during his tenure in Congress. Today, American investment in research is providing new therapies and prevention strategies for...
On January 23, the NIH announced that a Phase I clinical trial for a dengue vaccine candidate has yielded promising results . Dengue is a potentially lethal virus which causes severe fever, headaches, and rashes. WHO estimates that 50 to 100 million cases of dengue occur worldwide each year, including here in the U.S., and has recently warned of the possibility of a global dengue epidemic. The results of the trial, in which 90% of participants developed some immunity to the virus, represent a significant breakthrough in the development of a safe and effective dengue vaccine. The vaccine costs just $1 to produce, making it cost effective and ideal for future distribution to developing...
On January 16, Uniting to Combat NTDs released ’€œ From Promises to Progress ,’€ the first annual report on the London Declaration on NTDs. The report details the progress made by global partners that signed onto the London Declaration one year ago. Notable successes include leading pharmaceutical companies donating treatments for 100% of drug requests in endemic countries and the development of new NTD control plans in over forty countries. The past year has also seen regulatory approval for two new NTD diagnostics: a new test for lymphatic filariasis and the first rapid test for sleeping sickness developed by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics . Alongside this report, WHO also...
Each year on November 14, the International Diabetes Federation sponsors World Diabetes Day to raise awareness about the global burden of the disease. Although diabetes is historically associated with more affluent countries, diabetes rates are rising around the world. In 2000, about 170 million people had diabetes. Today, WHO estimates that diabetes affects more than 346 million people and about 70% of these individuals live in low- and middle-income countries. It is important to raise awareness of this growing burden and the links between diabetes and the infectious diseases that plague the developing world. Infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases...
Source: CDC On World Polio Day, established by Rotary International , the global health community comes together to celebrate successes and renew commitments to eliminate polio once and for all. Polio is a highly infectious disease and can cause irreversible paralysis, but thanks to past research efforts, there is a polio vaccine that can prevent the disease. This year, World Polio Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Launched in 2008 by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children’€™s Fund, GPEI is playing a critical role in the final push...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco