A rare disease is a health condition of particularly low prevalence that affects a small number of people compared with other prevalent diseases in the general population.

An Article by Audrey Bonaventure and colleagues in the Lancet Haematology provides international comparisons of 5-year net survival statistics of children diagnosed with leukaemia, and another Article by Eva Steliarova-Foucher and colleagues in the Lancet Oncology is an exhaustive report on worldwide incidence rates of childhood cancers observed in 2001–10. Both are based on best-quality data from population-based cancer registries. The first Article by Bonaventure and colleagues1 documents the steady improvements in survival in children with leukaemia from 1995–2009.

The accurate assessment of liver fibrosis is clinically important in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). Blood tests and elastography are now widely used for the noninvasive diagnosis of liver fibrosis in CHB patients. The aim of this study was to develop a new and more accurate predictive model, which combines elastography data, serum biomarkers, and individual characteristics, to discriminate between CHB patients with and without significant liver fibrosis.

Global tuberculosis incidence has declined marginally over the past decade, and tuberculosis remains out of control in several parts of the world including Africa and Asia. Although tuberculosis control has been effective in some regions of the world, these gains are threatened by the increasing burden of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis. XDR tuberculosis has evolved in several tuberculosis-endemic countries to drug-incurable or programmatically incurable tuberculosis (totally drug-resistant tuberculosis).

The 2014–15 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic strained health systems in west Africa already overburdened with other diseases, including malaria. Because EVD and malaria can be difficult to distinguish clinically, and rapid testing was not available in many Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), guidelines recommended empirical malaria treatment. Little is known, however, about the prevalence and characteristics of patients entering an ETU who were infected with malaria parasites, either alone or concurrently with Ebola virus.

People living with a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection have a high risk of tuberculosis and should undergo regular screening. However, they can be difficult to reach because they are stigmatized and discriminated against.

Original Source

Progress towards the elimination of a neglected tropical disease from a country can sometimes be a curse, especially when policymakers are confronted with competing needs and priorities. This could mistakenly be interpreted as though the disease has been eradicated, resulting in the limited resources becoming redirected to the next priority, sometimes leaving unfinished agendas. Much depends on whether the long term is considered in the elimination agenda and whether contingency plans are in place should the disease re-emerge as a public health problem.

Worldwide rise of obesity may be partly related to the relaxation of natural selection in the last few generations. Accumulation of mutations affecting metabolism towards excessive fat deposition is suggested to be a result of less purging selection. Using the WHO and UN data for 159 countries there is a significant correlation (r = 0.60, p<0.01) between an index of the relaxed opportunity for selection (Biological State Index) and prevalence of obesity (percentage of individuals with BMI >30kg/m2).

Using national surveillance data for 120,111 human anthrax cases recorded during 1955−2014, we analyzed the temporal, seasonal, geographic, and demographic distribution of this disease in China. After 1978, incidence decreased until 2013, when it reached a low of 0.014 cases/100,000 population. The case-fatality rate, cumulatively 3.6% during the study period, has also decreased since 1990. Cases occurred throughout the year, peaking in August. Geographic distribution decreased overall from west to east, but the cumulative number of affected counties increased during 2005−2014.

The objective of the study was to examine the diagnostic performance of real-time reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for Zika virus detection.

Original Source