PEOPLE AFFECTED IN EUROPE
OF THE POPULATION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION IS AFFECTED BY A RARE DISEASE
PEOPLE AFFECTED IN SWITZERLAND
Rare diseases affect 30 million people in the European Union, i.e. 6.5% of the population. Throughout Switzerland, more than 500,000 people are affected including 86,000 in French-speaking Switzerland.
A rare disease is defined as an ailment which affects less than one person out of 2,000 and which requires special combined efforts for its treatment. There are more than 7,000 rare conditions listed. Of genetic origin in 80% of cases, the other causes are infectious, auto-immune, degenerative or tumour-induced. They are most often chronic, disabling and can be potentially life-threatening. Most are detected at a very early age, whilst some do not appear for many years.