The ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) constitute an economic powerhouse, yet these countries also harbor a mostly hidden burden of poverty and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Almost 200 million people live in extreme poverty in ASEAN countries, mostly in the low or lower middle-income countries of Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Viet Nam, and Cambodia, and many of them are affected by at least one NTD. However, NTDs are prevalent even among upper middle-income ASEAN countries such as Malaysia and Thailand, especially among the indigenous populations. The three major intestinal helminth infections are the most common NTDs; each helminthiasis is associated with approximately 100 million infections in the region.
Leprosy, yaws, and trachoma are still endemic in focal areas. Almost 70 million cases of dengue fever occur annually in ASEAN countries, such that this arboviral infection is now one of the most common and economically important NTDs in the region. A number of other arboviral and zoonotic viral infections have also emerged, including Japanese encephalitis; tick-borne viral infections; Nipah virus, a zoonosis present in fruit bats; and enterovirus 71 infection.