Rare diseases are characterised by a wide diversity of symptoms and signs that vary not only from disease to disease but also from patient to patient suffering from the same disease.
Due to the low prevalence of each disease, medical expertise is rare, knowledge is scarce, care offerings inadequate and research limited. Despite their great overall number, rare disease patients are the orphans of health systems, often denied diagnosis, treatment, and the benefits of research.
Relatively common symptoms can hide underlying rare diseases leading to misdiagnosis and delaying treatment. Typically disabling, the quality of life of a person living with a rare disease is affected by the lack or loss of autonomy due to the chronic, progressive, degenerative, and frequently life-threatening aspects of the disease.
The fact that there are often no existing effective cures adds to the high level of pain and suffering endured by patients and their families.
Rare diseases not only affect the person diagnosed – they also impact families, friends, care takers and society as a whole.
An estimated 30 MILLION people are living with a rare disease in 48 countries in Europe.
Each rare disease affects fewer than
1 IN 2000 people.
THERE ARE OVER 6000 distinct rare diseases.
Rare diseases affect about 4% of the population during their lifetime with estimates ranging from 3.5% to 5.9%.
75% of rare diseases affect children.
70% of rare diseases have their onset during childhood.
72% are of genetic origin
28% are non-genetic
including rare cancers, rare infections, immune deficiencies & health hazards.
Read more – scientific paper written by Orphanet, EURORDIS, Orphanet Island: Estimating cumulative point prevalence of rare diseases: analysis of the Orphanet database
 Rare Barometer Diagnosis Survey. Available soon!
 Source: https://irdirc.org/resources-2/rd-metrics/ and EURORDIS therapeutic reports
 (2020) Estimating cumulative point prevalence of rare diseases: analysis of the Orphanet database, European Journal of Human Genetics: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41431-019-0508-0