Rare Disease Day 2024

As an organization committed to public health, Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recognizes the significance of Rare Disease Day. This day is observed on the last day of February every year. Rare Disease Day serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by individuals and families affected by rare diseases. It also highlights the importance of research, advocacy, and support for those living with these conditions.

Rare diseases collectively affect millions of individuals worldwide. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are over 7,000 identified rare diseases. New ones are still being discovered. While each disease may only affect a small number of people, the total impact is immense. Millions of individuals are living with these conditions across the globe.

One of the biggest challenges associated with rare diseases is limited understanding and awareness. Because of their rarity, many rare diseases are overlooked or misdiagnosed. This can lead to delays in appropriate treatment and care. Plus, the small patient populations make it difficult to research and develop effective therapies.

Our goal is to ensure that all Virginians have access to the support and services they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives, regardless of medical condition. On Rare Disease Day, we stand in solidarity with those affected by rare diseases. Patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and researchers all work tirelessly for the same goal. This is a day to celebrate the resilience and strength of individuals living with rare diseases. Learn more at the NIH Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/