In recent testimony before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, disease and poverty fellow Peter J. Hotez urged continued U.S. support for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), called "the most important diseases you have never heard of."

"Virtually every person on the planet who lives below the World Bank poverty figure -- approximately 1.3 billion people -- as well as most people who live on less than $2 per day suffers from one or more NTD," he said. "For instance, almost all of the children who live in extreme poverty have intestinal worms such as hookworms, which feed on blood and rob children of nutrients."

The U.S. has clearly shown extraordinary leadership on NTDs, but U.S. investment must continue to support new technologies (drugs, vaccines and diagnostics) to ensure disease control and elimination, Hotez said.

Click here to view video of Hotez's June 27, 2013, testimony.