Mass Drug Treatment of Tropical Diseases: Is It Really Progress?

  • I. W. Fong
Part of the Emerging Infectious Diseases of the 21st Century book series (EIDC)


There are 13 major chronic disabling diseases that are most common among the world’s poorest people, considered neglected tropical diseases that have been targeted by the World Health Organization for elimination or control. Five of the most prevalent of these (lymphatic filariasis, helminthiasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, and trachoma) have been treated by preventive chemotherapy given as mass drug treatment once or twice a year to endemic communities in tropical countries (mainly Africa and Asia) with some evidence of benefit. However, in the present era of widespread increasing global antimicrobial resistance directly related to their overuse, this policy may result in short-term gains but long-term pain from fuelling further drug resistance. This chapter reviews the current evidence of mass drug treatment of tropical diseases and potential disadvantages and concerns.


Neglected tropical diseases Malaria Trachoma Lymphatic filariasis Onchocerciasis Schistosomiasis Helminths Mass drug administration 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. W. Fong
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Michael’s HospitalUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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