Neglected tropical diseases or NTDs are communicable diseases that affect more than one billion people each year. The group is referred to as "neglected" because they generally do not receive as much attention as other diseases. NTDs tend to thrive in developing regions of the world that have poor access to health care, sanitation, and water. These diseases also develop in the poorest regions of established countries like the U.S.
River blindness is a parasitic infection that causes extreme itchiness, rashes, and skin discoloration. The infection can also lead to irreversible blindness. River blindness is the second most common cause of infectious blindness globally. Humans contract the disease through the bite of an infected blackfly. These insects only inhabit certain parts of the world, near fast-flowing rivers and streams. Early treatment with an anti-parasitic medication can diminish or prevent long-term problems associated with the disease. International programs have successfully decreased the number of people at risk for river blindness and prevented blindness in thousands of affected individuals.
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