Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of diseases caused by different etiological agents which primarily impact the world’s poorest people in both rural and urban areas. This encompasses the estimated 2.7 billion people that live on less than $2 per day (Hotez N Engl J Med 2007). NTDs are represented by 14 diseases, Ascariasis, Trichuriasis, Leptospirosis, Hookworm infection, Schistosomiasis, Lymphatic filariasis, Trachoma, Onchocerciasis, Leishmaniasis, Chagas’ disease, Leprosy, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Dracunculiasis and Buruli ulcer. These diseases play a large part in maintaining the poverty levels of afflicted populations as these diseases result in long-term disability and death. These diseases are primarily caused by bacteria, protozoa and nematodes. Some of these agents such as filarial worms, leishmania parasites and trypanosomes are transmitted via arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes, sand flies and tsetse flies. Research on these organisms and their vectors drives the development and maintenance of novel, straightforward and cost effective disease prevention and treatment strategies. Effective prevention and treatment of these diseases can drive sustainable decreases in poverty in the poorest countries in the world.

Work at YSPH

Tsetse - close up

Trypanosomiasis/Tsetse Research

The Aksoy lab studies multiple aspects of tsetse flies, the vectors of African trypanosomes. Trypanosomes are the causative agents of the devastating Sleeping Sickness disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. 


trypanosome image

African Sleeping Sickness

Professor Tschudi’s studies focus on the biology of African trypanosomes using genetic and genomic approaches.

sand fly


Leishmaniasis is caused by several species of flagellated protozoan parasites found particularly in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East.