Insufficiently Studied Parasites

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In the United States, public health priorities and development of strategies to address health concerns are identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC. Five parasitic diseases have been officially considered by CDC to have been neglected or not adequately studied. The list of neglected parasitic diseases include trichomoniasis, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, Chagas disease, and toxoplasmosis.

These diseases were recognized as neglected and CDC will commit resources towards better awareness and improving diagnostic testing and treatment through research studies. CDC may also help on the treatment and distributing medications that are difficult to obtain for these diseases.

Since CDC’s resources are limited, giving study priority for these five diseases effectively deprioritizing others. Many people never heard of these five diseases and asked CDC what criteria they used in prioritizing diseases. CDC said that the criteria includes the population of infected individual, severity of the disease, or if the disease is treatable or preventable. Several of these neglected diseases are uncommon in the United States, but many of these cases in the U.S. were not diagnosed nor treated due to the lack of knowledge for these diseases.

Should this call for a major overhaul on the system of prioritizing diseases? What criteria should be considered? Are the identified diseases reasonable? Are there any ethical implications of deprioritizing other neglected diseases?


OpenStax Microbiology. Neglected Parasites. Eye on Ethics. Accessed November 19, 2019