Rare diseases are only rare when taken in isolation; together there are very many of them. So far between 6,000 and 8,000 rare (orphan) diseases have been described worldwide. Most of them have hardly been researched, and new orphan diseases are added to the list practically on a daily basis. In Switzerland and Europe a disease is deemed to be rare if it affects no more than five out of every 10,000 people. While the number of people suffering from each individual disease is very small, with 6,000 to 8,000 of these diseases in existence around 7 per cent of the population seems to be affected. In Switzerland, the number of patients is estimated to be more than half a million.
The Swiss Neurological Society (SNS) pools expert knowledge on an interdisciplinary basis together with partner societies such as the Swiss Society for Clinical Neurophysiology, the Swiss Headache Society, the Swiss Society for Neuro-Rehabilitation and Behavioural Neurology, the Swiss Stroke Society, the Swiss Epilepsy League, the Swiss MS Society, Sleep Medicine and Chronobiology and many others, in the sense of a strong neurology.
For more information, see the SNS media release on International Rare Disease Day (in German).