Enormous strides have been made in reducing the number of global under-five child deaths through expanded development and use of vaccines under the auspices of the GAVI Alliance. However such successes have left behind a significant burden of child morbidity and mortality in developing countries from six major tropical diseases, ie, dengue, malaria, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth infections, trachoma, and visceral leishmaniasis. Approximately 1.7 billion infections occur from these six diseases that result in disability-adjusted life years that exceed HIV/AIDs and result in 700,000 to 1.2 million deaths annually. International efforts are in place to reduce the disease burden of several tropical diseases through packages of essential medicines administered through mass treatments and insecticide-treated bednets. Except for malaria in 34 countries, and trachoma, there is a dearth of coordinated efforts to eliminate these childhood diseases in the world’s poorest areas. An emerging body of evidence has also identified a previously hidden burden of tropical diseases among poor people living in wealthy countries including the United States. Several tropical are now affecting populations in Texas and other southern states of the US. Ironically, efforts to control or eliminate these diseases in the southern US have lagged behind international efforts in developing countries.

Author Biography

Dr. Peter J. Hotez is a leading advocate and expert in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. He is founding dean of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine, chief of the Section of Tropical Medicine in the BCM Department of Pediatrics and holds the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics. He is also President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC; and leads the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. He is also Fellow in Disease and Poverty at Baker Institute for Public Policy at the Rice University.