Rare Diseases

Rare diseases are a serious public health concern and a priority in the EU health and research programmes.

Rare Diseases

In the EU, a rare disease is one which affects fewer than 5 people per 10 000. The number of sufferers may still be high, however, as there are some 7 000 known rare diseases. Most are caused by genetic defects, but environmental exposure during pregnancy or later in life, often in combination with genetic susceptibility, is another cause.


Links to the EU activities

  • Public Health

    • Rare diseases
      EU initiatives and activities to address rare diseases
    • Rare Diseases Task Force
      The Task Force objectives to promote the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases
    • EU-funded projects
      Links to projects funded by the European Commission to address rare diseases (1999-2003)