Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn February 29, 2008, nations in Europe brought attention to little-known medical conditions by instituting Rare Disease Day. More than 80 countries and a dozen international organizations now recognize Rare Disease Day, which is honored on February 28 in non-leap years.A rare disease is classified differently in different parts of the world. In the United States, a disease is considered rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 people. In Europe, a disease is considered rare if it affects fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. Most rare diseases are genetic, including cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's disease.Rare Disease Day aims to bring attention to these diseases, and increase the funding available. Funding may include expanding access to medicine, medical equipment and care, and physical therapy. Funding may also allow researchers to study the genetic or environmental origins of rare diseases to help develop therapies or vaccines.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry cystic fibrosis Noun
genetic disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems.
a harmful condition of a body part or organ.
tools and materials to perform a task or function.
money or finances.
having to do with genes, inherited characteristics or heredity.
Huntington's disease Noun
genetic disease which affects the brain and nervous system.
international organization Noun
unit made up of governments or groups in different countries, usually for a specific purpose.
Encyclopedic Entry: international organization medicine Noun
substance used for treating illness or disease.
study, design, and use of microscopes.
muscular dystrophy Noun
genetic disease which affects muscles and movement.
political unit made of people who share a common territory.
Encyclopedic Entry: nation recognize Verb
to identify or acknowledge.
scientific observations and investigation into a subject, usually following the scientific method: observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, analysis, and conclusion.
vaccine Noun preparation of a weakened or killed pathogen, or of a portion of the pathogen's structure that upon administration stimulates antibody production against the pathogen but is incapable of causing severe infection itself.