Global Health Facts : About 12 million cases of leishmaniasis world-wide


The three infectious diseases that are of biggest concern to the developing world are HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB.


Unknown a quarter of a century ago, HIV/AIDS is the world’s most urgent public health challenge and is now the leading cause of death and lost years of productive life for adults aged 15–59 years worldwide. The latest statistics on the world epidemic of AIDS & HIV were published by UNAIDS/WHO in May 2006, and refer to the end of 2005.

People living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 38.6 million
Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 36.3 million
Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 17.3 million
Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2005 2.3 million
People newly infected with HIV in 2005 4.1 million
AIDS deaths in 2005 2.8 million
  • More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.
  • Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans.
  • By the end of 2005, women accounted for 48% of all adults living with HIV worldwide, and for 59% in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Young people (15-24 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide - around 6,000 become infected with HIV every day.
  • In developing and transitional countries, 6.5 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 1.3 million are receiving the drugs.
  • The number of people living with HIV rose from around 8 million in 1990 to 38.6 million in 2005, and is still growing. Around 63% of people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Number of people infected with AIDS in sub-saharan Africa: 24.5 million. Those receiving anti-retroviral treatment: 1 million.

HIV in Haiti

The island nation of Haiti, just 90 minutes by plane from Miami, is one of the poorest countries in the world; average life expectancy is under 50 years for the population of 8.3 million. Haiti suffers from the highest HIV burden in the Western Hemisphere, registering an adult prevalence rate of 5.6 percent.

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Ranked as one of the world’s major sources of mortality, malaria is an infection caused by a parasite and carried from person to person by mosquitoes. It is preventable and treatable but each year it kills mostly young children living in Africa.

  • There are at least 300 million acute cases of malaria each year globally, resulting in more than a million deaths.
  • Around 90% of these deaths occur in Africa, mostly in young children.
  • Costs the global economy $100 million per day
  • Endemic in greater than 100 countries
  • Every 30 seconds an African child dies of malaria-more than one million child deaths a year.
  • Malaria is Africa's leading cause of under-five mortality (20%) and constitutes 10% of the continent's overall disease burden.
  • Malaria accounts for 40% of public health expenditure, 30-50% of inpatient admissions, and up to 50% of outpatient visits in areas with high malaria transmission.
  • Economists believe that malaria is responsible for a growth penalty of up to 1.3% per year in some African countries.

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In developed countries, such as the United States, many people think tuberculosis (TB) is a disease of the past. TB, however, is still a leading killer of young adults worldwide. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air. Only people who are sick with TB in their lungs are infectious. When infectious people cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. A person needs only to inhale a small number of these to be infected.

  • Some 2 billion people—one-third of the world's population—are thought to be infected with TB bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, each year, 8 million people worldwide develop active TB and nearly 2 million die.
  • Of the more than 2 million people who died of AIDS in 2005, more than 1 in 10 was killed by TB, a rate that rises to 6 in 10 in Southern Africa
  • WHO estimates 11.4 million people worldwide are infected with both M. tuberculosis and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency disease]). The primary cause of death in those infected with body microbes is from TB, not AIDS.
  • Left untreated, each person with active TB disease will infect on average between 10 and 15 people every year.
  • Someone in the world is newly infected with TB bacilli every second.
  • 5-10% of people who are infected with TB bacilli (but who are not infected with HIV) become sick or infectious at some time during their life.
  • People with HIV and TB infection are much more likely to develop TB.
  • TB is a leading cause of death among people who are HIV-positive. It accounts for about 13% of AIDS deaths worldwide. In Africa, HIV is the single most important factor determining the increased incidence of TB in the past 10 years.
  • It is estimated that 1.7 million deaths resulted from TB in 2004.

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The World Health Organization classifies leishmaniasis as one of the world’s epidemic-prone diseases. Transmitted by the infected female phlebotomine sandfly, leishmaniasis presents itself in humans in four different forms with a broad range of clinical manifestations. All forms can have devastating consequences.

Leishmaniasis also has been present in Africa and India since at least the mid-eighteenth century. The clinical forms of leishmaniasis in humans range from disfiguring cutaneous lesions evident in the soldiers returning from Iraq to systemic fatal disease that has affected some military personnel in Afghanistan, depending primarily on which of several species initiates the infection. Political instability and warfare is expanding Leishmania-endemic regions and increasing the propensity for epidemics world-wide.

  • Endemic in 88 countries (mostly in the tropics and subtropics)
  • About 12 million cases world-wide
  • About 2 million new cases a year
  • From 1984-1994 an epidemic in Southern Sudan was thought to have a mortality rate of 38-57% killing 100,000 people.
  • An estimated 270,000 cases in 2 million people occurred in 1996 in Kabul, Afghanistan

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The Role of the Jordan Hall of Science

Jordan Hall of Science

A cutting-edge facility to forge 21st century solutions to the global health crisis. This year’s Forum coincides with the opening of our new Jordan Hall of Science... > Read More

News & Events


World AIDS Week

In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1st, the World AIDS Day task force sponosred by the CSC will be hosting a week of events that focus on increasing awareness for HIV/AIDS among Notre Dame students and faculty.