About one billion people worldwide are currently at risk of of developing an inability to work or blindness, becoming maimed or dying due to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). River blindness, dengue fever, sleeping sickness, snakebites or leprosy are just a few well-known examples of this diverse group of diseases. The poorest parts of the population, women and children in particular, are most severely affected.
In contrast to malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS, these diseases do not affect industrialised nations and travellers to these countries are also rarely at risk, which is why they are frequently neglected, also with regard to research funding. This, however, is due to change: A DZIF research consortium is taking these issues on in Africa and is developing new diagnostic tools for river blindness and other diseases that are caused by parasitic worms.