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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine

Expanding the Blue Marble Health Collection

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases co-Editor-in-Chief Peter J Hotez , Chief Editor of PLOS Medicine Larry Peiperl and Editorial Project Manager of PLOS Collections Nathaniel Gore on the latest update to the Blue Marble Health Collection.


The concept “Blue Marble Health” was first put forward in a series of articles published in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Medicine beginning in 2011, together with a lead article in Foreign Policy, and now a new book published by Johns Hopkins University Press.  Stated briefly, the original idea came in part when one of us (PJH) first moved to Houston, Texas to launch the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.  Driving through Houston’s poor neighborhoods I was struck how the conditions there resembled other impoverished areas in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America where I have traveled and worked.  Indeed, over the next five years, our scientists and faculty have found a significant burden from neglected tropical diseases in Texas, including Chagas disease, dengue, and others.

Major areas of poverty in the G20 nations and Nigeria, where most of the world's NTDs occur. journal.pntd.0002570.g001.
Major areas of poverty in the G20 nations and Nigeria, where most of the world’s NTDs occur. journal.pntd.0002570.g001.

A key point is that we found transmission of these diseases within the borders of Texas rather than importation exclusively through immigration as others have assumed.  Subsequently, we confirmed (based on data released both by the World Health Organization and the Global Burden of Diseases Study) that widespread poverty-related neglected diseases occur predominantly among the poor living in wealthy G20 countries.   Such findings represent a significant departure for the way in which we usually think about global health and as a result have important policy implications for the G20 leaders and governments.  Together with PLOS Collections we created the first trans-PLOS journal collection on Blue Marble Health in 2014.

In this latest update 38 research papers have been added to the collection, including:

We welcome investigators to continue contributing new papers to this updated Blue Marble Health collection! If you have published a paper which you would to be considered for the collection, please contact collections@plos.org. PLOS Medicine, PLOS NTDs and PLOS ONE welcome research submissions in this field. Find out which journal is right for your research.

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