Pharmacists at CVS (NYSE:CVS) and Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) might find customers seeking remedies for diseases that many have considered long gone. Although, medical experts are not expecting a breakout of polio or other rare diseases, a recent outbreak of the bubonic plague that occurred in China has served as a reminder such illnesses still exist.
“There’s a group of infections that have been with us forever,” Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and chair of the department of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine at George Washington University told ABC News.
“Most of these neglected infections or biblical diseases occur more in rural settings than in urban settings,” he said. “You will always find these diseases wherever you find extreme poverty, and that is the most common determinant.”
Here are 7 diseases that rarely make headlines, but still exist.
- Pneumonic/Bubonic Plague: Wild rats and fleas still carry this disease. About 12 cases of plague are reported in the U.S. each year.
- Spanish and Swine Flu/H1N1: An outbreak a few years ago proved that the disease many thought was eradicated during the early 20th century, still exists.
- Polio: Since there is a vaccine for polio, the disease is virtually eradicated in the U.S. However, it is still a problem abroad.
- Chagas Disease: This disease spread by a bug known as the assassin bug didn’t make its way to the U.S. until after Hurricane Katrina.
- Leprosy: One of the oldest diseases on the planet, leprosy attacks the skin and nerve cells. It’s caused by a bacterium and still occurs in the U.S.
- Hookworm: A hookworm is a parasite that can cause severe infections and is more common in rural areas.
- Tuberculosis: Most cases of tuberculosis do not take place in the U.S., but the disease is still very deadly and difficult to treat.
You can read more information about all of these diseases at ABC News.com.