Forgotten People Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development, Second Edition

Editor: Peter J. Hotez1
Affiliations: 1: National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine DevelopmentJames A. Baker III Institute, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Content Type: Trade
Format: Electronic
Publication Year: 2013

Category: General Interest

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The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common infections of the world’s poor, but few people know about these diseases and why they are so important. This second edition of Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases provides an overview of the NTDs and how they devastate the poor, essentially trapping them in a vicious cycle of extreme poverty by preventing them from working or attaining their full intellectual and cognitive development.

Author Peter J. Hotez highlights a new opportunity to control and perhaps eliminate these ancient scourges, through alliances between nongovernmental development organizations and private-public partnerships to create a successful environment for mass drug administration and product development activities. Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases also:

  • Addresses the myriad changes that have occurred in the field since the previous edition.
  • Describes how NTDs have affected impoverished populations for centuries, changing world history.
  • Considers the future impact of alliances between nongovernmental development organizations and private-public partnerships.
  • Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases is an essential resource for anyone seeking a roadmap to coordinate global advocacy and mobilization of resources to combat NTDs.

“Like Dr. Hotez, I have struggled with how to best get the word out about our need to address NTDs and their link to poverty.  Now he has provided us all with a remarkable tool, a book for people without an extensive scientific or medical background.  Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases is an excellent “one-stop” primer about NTDs”

─ From the Foreward by Soledad O’Brien

 Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, is the founding Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.  He is also President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute; Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development; Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics; and Baker Institute Fellow in Disease and Poverty at Rice University.

Paperback, 274 pages, biographical references, index.

There are no separately available contributors for this publication.

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 I, Science

13 February 2015

 As Dr Peter Hotez notes in the second edition of Forgotten People Forgotten Diseases, thanks to the Millennium Development Goals we are witnessing a new sense of urgency about the suffering of the world’s poorest people. The MDG 6, to “combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases”, has been a target for funds from celebrities, philanthropic organizations and G8 nations. But while HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis have received unprecedented levels of interest, there remains a group of diseases that still sit on the sideline. This is a group of exotic-sounding tropical infections that Hotez, a paediatrician and global health advocate, sees as representing “a health and socioeconomic problem of extraordinary dimensions”.

These are the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), so named because they are just that – neglected. Testament to his distinction as Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Hotez unleashes his wealth of knowledge in this book on the 17 NTDs identified by the WHO – a list that spans ascariasis to Wuchereria bancrofti. As somebody who has tried to find information on these diseases in the past, I know that it is a challenge to obtain up-to-date, complete information about the NTDs and their respective eradication efforts. But Forgotten People Forgotten Diseases provides exactly that ‘one-stop’ resource.

This book is comprehensive yet extremely readable, and is meticulously well referenced. It includes numerous colour pictures, maps and simplified diagrams of complex pathogen life cycles. The brilliant summary tables throughout the book present the information in a format that’s easy to read. And even if you just want a basic overview of a condition, Hotez concludes each chapter with summary points that highlight the key bits of information. The book is well structured, with related diseases placed together in the same chapter. Covering soil-transmitted helminth infections, schistosomiasis, filarial infections, blinding diseases, mycobacterial infections, kinetoplastid infections, leptospirosis, dengue, rabies and the neglected tropical diseases of North America. Hotez’s broad-ranging book spans numerous diseases across multiple continents.

The final chapters are on the future trends for controlling NTDs. Here, Hotez details how pharmaceutical companies and advocacy organizations might work to develop new drugs for NTDs, and he gives a great summary of the positive role of product development partnerships (PDPs).These chapters act as a powerful weapon in the battle against the NTDs.

Hotez begins each chapter with a couple of inspirational quotes, and I shall end with one of my favourites from the book – from Albert Sabin himself: “A scientist who is also a human being cannot rest while knowledge which might reduce suffering rests on the shelf.” And this book should rest on the bedside table.

I, Science (The Science Magazine of Imperial College)


Reviewer: Timothy Peplow

Review Date: July 28, 2014

 Quarterly Review of Biology

24 November 2014

 In this volume, the author tells the largely untold story of the world’s “bottom billion”—the poorest of the Earth’s inhabitants. His pithy yet impactful account represents a wealth of knowledge and wisdom for all audiences. Beginning with a crash course in all things “NTD” (neglected tropical dis-ease), Hotez gives his readers a sobering introduction to the scope and nature of NTDs. Elegantly contrasting the rapidly emerging, high mortality diseases that make headlines, the author highlights the longevity of the issue at hand—NTDs are ancient and chronic. Their high disease burden catalyzes poverty, conflict, and stigmatization, and their afflictions leave a path of socioeconomic, political, and developmental destruction in their wake.

After convincing his readers of their importance, Hotez carefully details what he deems the most devastating NTDs. Although his list of diseases is less than exhaustive and leaves out important players such as amebiasis, he provides readers with a balanced foundation in clinical manifestations, treatment/prevention strategies, socioeconomic and political consequences, current progress, and future directions. His rundown for each disease will satisfy both interested general readers and seasoned academics.

The true expertise of Hotez’s writing is most evident when he weaves together the subtle themes present in each of his chapters. In the final three chapters, he presents his passion tangibly—creating a collaborative framework for disease control. Again and again, Hotez recounts and encourages a movement to advocacy on a global scale. By detailing the coendemicity of NTDs (as well as other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis), he makes a convincing case for the necessity of a robust and truly global commitment to NTD reduction and elimination.

Hotez enumerates each of the necessary collaborators in this commitment—the effort must be not only global, but also multifaceted. The author recognizes that realizing his vision will require the investment of governmental, academic, and industrial stakeholders. Importantly, this investment, Hotez highlights, does not hinge on altruism alone. Governmental investment provides novel avenues for international diplomacy and foreign relations. The involvement of industry provides “big pharma” with avenues to fulfill social responsibility as well as with public relations gold mines. Academia’s critical role catalyzes the continued development of a more international, more interdisciplinary, more fruitful status quo.

The honest genius of Hotez’s approach finds its home here and is exemplified by his concept of “antipoverty vaccines.” His realistic, balanced perspective is illustrated by call for administration of rapid impact packages of drugs and simultaneous execution of preparative measures for the possible emergence of drug resistance. The author’s balance of realism and idealism is his strength; he does not simply tally medical facts, public health statistics, or socioeconomic reports. Rather, his presentation truly interlaces every aspect of neglected tropical diseases—just as they are for the forgotten people of these forgotten diseases.

The Quarterly Review of Biology

Volume 89, Number 4

Reviewers: Caroline E. Stewart and William A. Petri

Review Date: December 2014

Midwest Book Review: Library Bookwatch (Online Book Reviews)

14 April 2014

Medical doctor and founding Dean of the national School of Tropical Medicine Peter J. Hotez presents Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases, an in-depth discussion of neglected tropical diseases that among the most common infections of the world's poorest populations. Sicknesses covered include soil-transmitted helminth infections (such as hookworm infection), schistosomiasis (snail fever), tropical diseases that blind (such as river blindness and trachoma), mycobacterial infections, kinetoplastic infections (such as sleeping sickness and chagas disease), dengue, rabies, and much more. Now in an updated second edition, Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases scrutinizes how these illnesses have harmed impoverished communities for centuries, and the economic and societal obstacles to treatment. The possibility of alliances between nongovernmental development organizations, as well as public-private partnerships, may allow a ray of hope to shine on a persistent, cyclical world health problem. A handful of color photographs, diagrams, and an index enhance this "must-have" for college and public library health and medicine collections, highly recommended.

Midwest Book Review

Library Bookwatch (Online Book Reviews) - The Health/Medicine Shelf

Reviewer: James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review

Review Date: April 2014

Doody Enterprises

19 March 2014


This book offers a summary of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), reviewing current international control efforts and describing what additional work needs to be undertaken to prevent the poverty-perpetuating effects of these diseases on the world's poorest people. The first edition was published in 2008.


The purpose is to advocate for increased international efforts to control and eliminate NTDs. The review of the topic this book offers is invaluable. The goals of increasing awareness of NTDs, providing an understanding of the work done to date in the area, and describing the work that still needs to be done are effectively met.


The target audience is broad, including medical students and professionals, students of public health, policy makers and other individuals interested in helping the poor. Parts of the book unavoidably use scientific terminology, but not to the extent that prevents lay readers from understanding it. The author has a wealth of knowledge and experience on the topic.


The book provides a summary description of the most common NTDs, such as intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, filariasis, trachoma, and onchocerciasis, illustrating their global importance because of their high prevalence the associated suffering and disability they cause. The book describes current international control efforts as well as work that needs to be done. The book makes an important but highly technical topic accessible to lay readers in a relatively brief book. Illustrations, tables, and end of chapter summary points help highlight the big picture amidst the details of the book.


This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in international health and the plight of the poor. It is a needed second edition, not because of changes in the diseases described, but because of the rapidly changing landscape of international organizations, collaborations, and control efforts that have blossomed over the last decade.

Doody Enterprises

Reviewer: Hans Dethlefs, MD (Heartland Community Health Network)

Review Date: September 2013

©Doody’s Review Service

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