Rare Disease Day is an international advocacy day to bring widespread recognition of rare diseases as a global health challenge. The day is celebrated on the last day of February every year.
In the U.S., any disease affecting fewer than 200,000 people is considered rare. This definition comes from the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 and is slightly different from the definition used in Europe. There are nearly 7,000 rare diseases affecting nearly 30 million Americans. In other words, almost one in ten Americans are suffering from rare diseases. Rare diseases include many birth defects, genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities.
Besides dealing with their specific medical problems, people with rare diseases struggle to get a proper diagnosis, find information, and get treatment. The rarity of their conditions makes medical research more difficult.
To learn more about rare diseases and Rare Disease Day, click on this link.