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Africa Close to Winning the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases, Remembering C.C. Wang & Other NTD News

News roundup

This news roundup is a collection of headlines and other items on neglected tropical diseases, and does not reflect the work or the views of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center.

Sightsavers_Black Flies

River blindess is spread by the bite of black flies.



Lymphatic filariasis

Vector Control Unit ups campaign to end Filaria

Svetlana Marshall
Guyana Chronicle
The Vector Control Services Unit (VCSU) has intensified its countrywide campaign aimed at eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis commonly known as ‘big foot’ with focused attention on school-aged children.

3D mosquito screens to create window double screen traps for mosquito control

Ayman Khattab et al.
Parasites and Vectors
A cone-based 3D screen fulfilled the study objective. It allowed capturing 92% of mosquitoes within the double screen setup inside the wind tunnel and blocked 100% from escaping. Thus, the cone-based screen effectively acted as a unidirectional mosquito screen.

Fatal Attractions for Disease carrying Mosquitoes

Vaishali Gokulakrishnan
A Riverside, California, biotech firm is working on several innovations to stop outbreaks of malaria-spreading mosquitoes before they occur. One exploits the mosquito's hunger for nectar to attract and kill them before they suck blood.


Remembering C.C. Wang

Grant Burningham
Ching C. Wang, PhD, a beloved School of Pharmacy researcher and professor, known for bringing molecular biology and biochemistry to parasitology, and for his work on the antiparasitic medicine ivermectin, died last week at the age of 80.

Uganda moves one step closer to eliminating river blindness

Two more areas and more than a million people in Uganda are now free from the parasitic infection river blindness, bringing the country closer to eliminating the disease.


[VIDEO] Theresa Maier (Merck): Gene editing platform for snail control & schistosomiasis

The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
At the annual ISNTD Bites 2017 conference on vector-borne diseases and vector control, Theresa Maier, from the University of Cambridge, speaks about current collaborative research with Merck on a gene editing platform to tackle snail control as part of the fight against schistosomiasis.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Essential ingredients: a framework for STH control programming

Grace Hollister
Work Plan of the STH Coalition
Between 2011 and 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available), treatment coverage doubled among school-age children, reaching 63%. And that progress has put within reach the target set by the World Health Organization: 75% treatment coverage for school-age children globally by the year 2020.

STH Coalition Priority Focus Areas, 2017-2020

Children Without Worms
Work Plan of the STH Coalition
By fostering collaboration, the STH Coalition, through its partners, accelerates action on global issues related to the control of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH). To focus our efforts, the STH Coalition has identified four priority areas for action between 2017 and 2020.


Closing the gap in Indigenous Eye Health in Australia

Hugh Taylor
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
Australia is the only developed country where trachoma is still prevalent and this burden of disease is suffered exclusively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The disease was eliminated from mainstream Australia through improved sanitation about 150 years ago. Ten low- or middle-income countries have managed to eliminate trachoma before Australia.

Genome-wide profiling of humoral immunity & pathogen genes under selection sees immune evasion tactics of CT ocular infection

Harry Pickering et al.
Scientific Reports
The frequency and duration of Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) ocular infections decrease with age, suggesting development of partial immunity. However, there is a lack of clear correlates of immunity to Ct infection in humans.


Significant progress in improving people’s health in Africa applauded

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa
In July 2016, the Region celebrated success in controlling river blindness after more than 40 years of sustained effort. Togo is the first country in the African Region to achieve WHO’s validation of elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. To ensure that Africa is polio-free by 2019, over 190000 polio vaccinators immunized more than 116 million under-five children in 13 countries in West and Central Africa.

In July 2016, the Region, celebrated success in controlling river blindness after more than 40 years of sustained effort. Togo i

News of Africa
The President of Zimbabwe, H.E Robert Mugabe has called on African governments to prioritise health in their national development agenda. He said the health challenges facing the Region including communicable, maternal and child deaths and non-communicable disease require concerted efforts to tackle them.

Why I’m Following Bill Gates on Instagram

Lisa Rotondo - RTI ENVISION
First, his post illustrates the longtime advocacy of a variety of generous donors like USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, to fund and advocate for global elimination of these debilitating diseases.


Dr. Donald Hopkins helped wipe smallpox from the planet. He won’t rest until he’s done the same for Guinea worm disease.

Barry Yeoman
Atlanta Magazine
The disease causes more than physical torment. It keeps farmers out of their fields and children out of school in places so destitute that they cannot afford these absences. “This is the quintessential disease of forgotten people in forgotten places,” says Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, who now directs the Carter Center’s Guinea worm eradication program.

While America Ignores A Disease Bigger Than Zika, Its Victims Remain Invisible

Catharine Smith
Huffington Post
Chagas is a deeply misunderstood disease that affects about 8 million people around the world, primarily in Latin America, and is responsible for 10,000 deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization.

Movement of horses in rural Brazil a possible risk factor for leishmaniasis spread

Horsetalk New Zealand
The use of horses between rural villages in Brazil could be a risk factor for the spread of leishmaniasis, according to researchers. The leishmaniases are a group of neglected tropical diseases caused by protozoa and spread by blood-eating sandflies of the subfamily Phlebotominae.

Seven ways CDC is keeping us safe from deadly diseases

Brandon Ball and Courtney Carson
President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal called for US$1.2 billion in reductions for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including over a $100 million cut to CDC’s global health work. While the House of Representatives did not propose the same cuts—and largely supported CDC’s global health activities—the House is still considering a $200 million cut to CDC’s topline funding, straining key operations that protect Americans from deadly threats.

Upcoming Events

Integrate Health: Examining how integration can help end maternal and child deaths
September 7, Washington, DC
RTI International
Please join us for a panel discussion on building effective integrated health systems to help end maternal and child deaths. Panelists will examine evidence surrounding the best approaches to integration. For those unable to attend in-person, the event will be livestreamed via webcast.

World Vaccine Congress India
September 19-20, Mumbai, India
Join us at the World Vaccine Congress India this September 19-20 in Mumbai, the latest addition to our global vaccines series, encompassing the World Vaccine Congress Washington and the World Vaccine Congress Europe. With an 18-year heritage, World Vaccine Congress events are annual gatherings of vaccine biopharma companies, from very senior executives to researchers, scientists and engineers, to discuss strategies to overcome vaccine development challenges. 

International Workshop on Disease Mapping in Low-resource Settings
September 14-15, Lancashire, England
Lancaster University
Hosted by Lancaster University on 14 - 15 September 2017, the multidisciplinary workshop will bring together international statistics and epidemiology experts to discuss the mapping of a wide range of diseases including neglected tropical diseases and malaria. 

The multidisciplinarity of parasitology: host-parasite evolution and control in an ever changing world
September 28, London, UK
British Society of Parasitology
The meeting’s aim will be to explore and broadly discuss recent progress towards understanding host-parasite relationships, with a particular emphasis on vectors and intermediate hosts of human diseases.  The meeting will also be a convenient opportunity to develop a festschrift in Parasitology in honour of Prof David Rollinson (a former President of the BSP), marking over forty years of parasitological research.

NNN Conference 2017
September 28-30, Dakar, Senegal
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network
NNN hosts its 2017 annual conference in Dakar, Senegal. More information to follow.

World Sight Day
October 12
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.

Women Leaders in Global Health
October 12, Stanford, CA
Women in Global Health
Women in Global Health is pleased to partner with Stanford University's Center for Innovation in Global Health to present the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference this October 12th, 2017. Registration is now open for this inaugural event. The conference builds on the global movement to press for gender equity in global health leadership by celebrating great works of emerging and established women in the field and cultivating the next generation of women leaders.

Global Handwashing Day
October 15
October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Global Handwashing Day is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times

ASTMH 66th Annual Meeting
November 5-9, Baltimore, Maryland
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The ASTMH Annual Meeting draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, government, non-profits, philanthropy, NGOs, industry, military and private practice. The meeting is designed for researchers, professors, government and public health officials, military personnel, travel clinic physicians, practicing physicians in tropical medicine, students and all health care providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health. 

Swedish-Ethiopian Course in Tropical Infections
November 13, 2017 - February 11, 2018, Stockholm, Sweden
Karolinska University Hospital
This is a course in clinical tropical medicine and HIV for clinicians. The overall aim is to provide general knowledge about infectious diseases which require or thrive in a warm climate and / or are important causes of morbidity and mortality in low-income countries. The focus is on diagnosis and treatment both in situations with scarce resources and in more affluent countries. The field visit to Ethiopia gives the participants a unique experience of the health system and infectious disease panorama in a developing country.

World Vaccine & Immunotherapy Congress West Coast
November 30 - December 1, San Diego, CA
Following on from the highly successful World Vaccine Congress series in Washington DC and Europe for the past 18 years, the San Diego event will offer learning and business development opportunities taking advantage of the rich biotech and funding environment that the west coast offers.

Eradicate Malaria World Congress 2018
February 18, 2018, Melbourne, Australia
The inaugural World Congress on Malaria - Eradicate Malaria 2018 - will bring together the broad global community including implementers, scientists, funders, governments, policy makers and those directly affected by the disease. The aim is to bring the broad spectrum of the malaria world together for the first time, to further galvanise the effort for the eradication of malaria.

World Vaccine Washington
April 3-5, 2018, Washington, DC
Make sure you are at the forefront of the vaccines industry. No matter where your interest lies, we have content, networking and potential partners for you. By bringing eight events together under one roof, you get to choose the sessions which are the most applicable to help your business plan for the future of vaccine research, development and manufacture.

Multilateral Initiative on Malaria 
April 15-18, 2018, Dakar, Senegal
The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) was established in 1997 with a mission to strengthen and sustain through collaborative research and training, the capacity of malaria-endemic countries in Africa to carry out research that is required to develop and improve tools for malaria control and to strengthen the research-control interphase.