Peripheral neuropathies constitute an important cause of neurological disability in the tropics. The clinical manifestations of tropical peripheral neuropathies are identical to those observed by neurologists elsewhere and their aetiologies are also similar. However, the frequency of occurrence, or prevalence, of the different types of neuropathy is clearly different from that observed in developed nations, ranging from epidemic outbreaks of optic and peripheral sensory neuropathy caused by malnutrition--such as in the outbreak recently observed in Cuba--to the endemic problems of leprosy and HTLV-1 infection. A large variety of plant and animal poisons and industrial neurotoxins frequently affect the peripheral nervous system in warm climates. In addition to their public health importance, tropical neuropathies constitute unexplored natural models of disease worthy of clinical and laboratory studies.