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Partners Commemorate International Women's Day and 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.

An FCHV in Nepal provides information and treatment to a woman with lymphatic filariasis, a type of NTD.

An femal community health volunteer in Nepal provides information and treatment to a woman with lymphatic filariasis, a type of NTD.


Lymphatic filariasis

Predicting lymphatic filariasis transmission and elimination dynamics using a multi-model ensemble framework

Morgan E. Smith et al.
Our results highlight the value of an ensemble approach to modelling parasite control dynamics. However, its optimal use will require further methodological improvements as well as consideration of the organizational mechanisms required to ensure that modelling results and data are shared effectively between all stakeholders.

Human Leukocytes Kill Parasites that Cause Lymphatic Filariasis

Donna Huber
The Center for Tropical & Emerging Global Diseases
The study shows that human peripheral blood innate immune cell populations can recognize, trap and kill the blood-circulating stage of the human filarial parasitic nematode Brugia malayi. Additionally, the complement specific inhibitor compstatin failed to have any biologically significant effects on either polymorphonuclear leukocyte attachments or leukocyte mediated microfilariae killing.

TAKeOFF being funded by Federal Ministry of Education and Research

By establishing a Filarial Clinical Trial & Research Platform (F-CuRE), the TAKeOFF consortium aims to harmonise the procedure for clinical trials in filariasis. To improve treatment regimens for morbidity control of filarial and non-filarial lymphedema (podoconiosis), the partners will conduct multinational clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa, thereby addressing patient needs as well as the science behind these diseases.

Odisha swings into action to eliminate lymphatic filariasis

Hermant Kumar Rout
The New India Express
The Odisha Government has decided to start Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in nine districts in two phases for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis...after several rounds of MDA, the average microfilaria rate in the State has reduced to less than one percent. The decision to resume it was taken after some districts were found with more than one per cent microfilaria rate.


Philanthropy vs. Blindness: What's the Latest?

Sue-Lynn Moses
Inside Philanthropy
This fight would seem eminently winnable, given that the World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of blindness is avoidable, meaning it can be either prevented or reversed. Spurred on by that hopeful fact, the WHO galvanized a plan in 1999 called Vision 2020, a global initiative to prevent avoidable blindness, with a coalition that includes a number of foundations and top nonprofits. That milestone is now just three years away, and much work remains.


Ultrasonographic evaluation of urinary tract morbidity in school-aged and preschool-aged children infected with S. haematobium

Beatrice Barda, Jean T. Coulibaly, Christoph Hatz and Jennifer Keiser
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Bladder morbidity is widespread among PSAC. Praziquantel treatment is significantly associated with the reversal of S. haematobium induced morbidity, which underscores the importance of preventive chemotherapy programs. These programs should be expanded to PSAC to prevent or decrease the prevalence of morbidity in young children. This trial is registered as an International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN15280205.

Village-based spatio-temporal cluster analysis of the schistosomiasis risk in the Poyang Lake Region, China

Congcong Xia et al.
Parasites & Vectors
This study detected areas at high risk for schistosomiasis both in space and time at the village level from 2009 to 2014 in Poyang Lake Region. The high-risk areas are now more concentrated and mainly distributed at the river inflows Poyang Lake and along Yangtze River in Pengze County. It was assumed that the water projects including reservoirs and a recently breached dyke in this area were partly to blame. This study points out that attempts to reduce the negative effects of water projects in China should focus on the Poyang Lake Region.

Impact of schistosomiasis on increase incidence of occult hepatitis B in chronic hepatitis C patients in Egypt

Hanan H. Omar, Samaa A. Taha, Wafaa H. Hassan and Hamdy H. Omar
Journal of Infection and Public Health
In our study, we observed that the prevalence of occult hepatitis B and the incidence of previous exposure to HBV in CHC patients were higher in patients with schistosomiasis than in patients without schistosomiasis...We recommended that early detection and treatment of schistosomiasis that is concurrent with positive Anti-HBc IgG tests and HBV DNA in serum and liver tissue can serve as an early indicator of occult hepatitis B and can prevent hepatic complications and liver damage.

Using the hierarchical ordinal regression model to analyse the intensity of urinary schistosomiasis infection in school children

Christopher Simoonga and Lawrence N. Kazembe
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
This study demonstrates the importance of understanding the dynamics and heterogeneity of infection in control efforts, and further suggests that apart from the well-researched factors of Schistosoma intensity, various other factors influence transmission. Control programmes need to take into consideration the varying infection intensities of the disease so that effective interventions can be designed.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Gambia: Ministry of Health to Embark On Mass Drug Administration Today

Sarjo Camara-Singateh
All Africa
As part of the elimination of Africa regional neglected tropical diseases, the ministry of health and social welfare will embark on mass drug administration targeting 203 thousand children in 24 districts to eliminate schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis in the country starting from the 6th of March to 15th March 2017. "Praziquantel and Albendazole will be administered for the campaign or deworming tablets" to eliminate blood in the urine and worms of all kinds which is the reason of the mass drug administration.


Trachoma infections drop in Karamoja

Steven Ariong
Daily Monitor
“We no longer receive new cases of trachoma infections from the communities because we have continued to sensitise and train village health teams on how to promote hygiene and sanitation,” Dr. [Patrick] Sagati said. Trachoma is the second leading cause of blindness in Uganda and Karamoja sub-region has the highest number of people at risk of going blind due to Trachoma. According to district reports, the disease had affected nearly 25,000 people in the sub-region but most of these have since been treated.

Countess of Wessex to visit Malawi in Commonwealth Week

British High Commission Lilongwe
The Countess’ visit comes at an exciting time in Malawi as the country approaches an historic milestone in its fight against blinding trachoma, so no one in Malawi need lose their sight from this ancient, painful infectious disease. Thanks to the UK and Malawi partnership on this health issue, the country is on track to meet by 2018 the World Health Organisation criteria where trachoma is no longer a public health problem, with verification of its elimination by 2020.

On board the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital

Flying in Ireland
The MD-10 boasts a state of the art operating room equipped with audio visual technology that transmits live 3D surgeries to the students onboard in the 46-seat classroom. The aircraft also houses a laser treatment room, sterilisation room and a pre and post surgery recovery room where anaesthetic can be administered...In 1999, ORBIS set up an office in Ethiopia and between 2003 and 2012; the Flying Eye Hospital undertook numerous training programs to advance their work there. In the 18 years since, ORBIS has worked tirelessly to eliminate the painful blinding condition, trachoma. The prevalence of trachoma has reduced by 75% in the regions where ORBIS has operated.

Help Sightsavers celebrate International Women’s Day

It is estimated that one in five women worldwide has a disability, and that two thirds of blind people are female. Women are also up to four times more likely to be blinded by the neglected tropical disease trachoma.

Message from ITI Deputy Director on International Women's Day

International Trachoma Initiative
ITI Deputy Director, PJ Hooper, has a message to be bold with women to #endtrachoma!


What My Aunt, A Health Volunteer In Nepal, Taught Me About Women And Neglected Diseases

Kalpana Bhandari
The Huffington Post
Although many [female community health volunteers,or] FCHVs are illiterate or semi-literate, they are trained by Nepal’s government and trusted by their communities. They are on the frontlines of Nepal’s fight against NTDs, creating awareness and distributing medicines during mass treatment campaigns. During these campaigns, my aunt walks from door to door, providing information on NTDs, distributing preventive medicines and recording every treatment in a register. Once the campaign is finished, she compiles her data and sends it to the local health center, where it then goes up the chain and reaches the national Ministry of Health.

Northeastern's Research Partnerships in Cuba Open the Doors to Scientific Exchange

Greg St. Martin
News @ Northeastern
[Associate professor Michael] Pollastri, whose research focuses on the discovery of new therapeutics for neglected tropical diseases, was particularly keen on meeting with researchers at the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute, Cuba’s leading public health institute. Pollastri underscored the institute’s focus on parasitology and antibacterial drug resistance...“The doors of scientific exchange are already opening,” he said.


Ebola made headlines, but Ebola recovery doesn’t. Here’s what it looks like.

RTI International
Ebola’s impact extended far beyond the official death count. The need to direct Guinea’s already-strained health resources towards the Ebola response, as well as widespread fear of contracting Ebola, halted many planned health activities — including mass treatment campaigns to prevent and treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda: Progress and Early Impact from U.S. Investment

Global Health Security Agenda
No single nation can ensure global health security. But CDC's commitment to work with international partners to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats in 2017 and the years that follow remains unwavering. Read the 2016 GHSA Annual Report.

This adventurer found the trip worth it — despite the flesh-eating disease

Lia Kvatum
The Washington Post
Preston spent eight days in the jungle. An incredible adventure, to be sure, especially because the team found what they were looking for: a long-abandoned city as well as dozens of artifacts. But — enter the curse! — something found them: mucosal leishmaniasis. Left unchecked, this parasitic disease can spread, migrating to the soft tissues of the face.


Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection

Janet D. Cragan et al.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
CDC used data from population-based birth defects surveillance programs in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, to retrospectively assess the prevalence of birth defects during 2013–2014 that met the surveillance case definition for birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection, before introduction of Zika virus into the United States. After introduction of Zika virus, the proportion of infants and fetuses with birth defects born to mothers with laboratory evidence of possible Zika infection reported by the US Zika Pregnancy Registry during January 15–September 22, 2016, was approximately 20 times higher than the prevalence of potentially Zika-related birth defects among pregnancies during the pre-Zika years.

Zika may be spread by up to 35 species of mosquitoes, researchers say

Daniel Chang
Miami Herald
Most scientists, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus species of mosquito, both of which are prevalent in Florida. But University of Georgia ecologists suspect that there must be other types of mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika because an outbreak of the virus on Yap Island in 2007 was driven by a different species, Aedes hensilli — and because other viruses closely related to Zika are spread by more than nine mosquito species, on average.

Zika candidate vaccine confers durable protection in animal trials

The Pharmaceutical Journal
Reporting their findings in Nature (online, 2 February 2017), researchers led by Drew Weissman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, developed an mRNA-based vaccine encoding two Zika glycoproteins that is delivered subcutaneously via lipid nanoparticles. The team showed in mice that a single dose of the vaccine could protect the animals from Zika virus challenge from two weeks up to five months, while in macaque monkeys, a single dose conferred protection for up to five weeks.

Botched Zika testing at D.C. public health lab was a failure of ‘basic arithmetic’

Aaron C. Davis
The Washington Post
There were two types of solution the District could have purchased to conduct a phase of the test. One bottle came marked with a “D,” for diluted, and the other with a “U,” for undiluted. D.C. lab workers had purchased the diluted version, Tran said, and then mistakenly watered it down as if it was the more concentrated one, weakening the ability to detect for Zika.

A new genetic tool maps how deadly viruses spread around the world in real time

Akshat Rathi
New inventions are continually improving our odds of succeeding against the next epidemic. One such invention, a clever genetic tool that maps in real time how viruses spread, has just won the Open Science Prize, given for “unleashing the power of data to advance discovery and improve health.” The researchers who developed it, Richard Neher of the University of Basel and Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, will each get $115,000 to make the tool accessible to scientists around the world and map disease-causing microbes beyond Ebola and Zika.

Upcoming Events

How to End a Plague: Smartphones, Science, & Partnerships
March 11, Austin, TX, USA
SXSW Interactive Festival 
During this panel discussion, experts and a representative from a country affected by blinding trachoma will explain how smartphones, science, and partnerships are being used to end the disease by 2020. They also will discuss the potential application of this approach for eliminating other diseases.

Schistosomiasis on the Verge of Elimination in China
March 15, Aurora, CO
Center for Global Health at the Colorado School of Public Health
Global Health Lecture Series presents: "Schistosomiasis on the Verge of Elimination in China," presented by Elizabeth Carlton, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health. Location: Education 2 North, Room 1206.

IEC & Social Mobilization Tool Kit: Overview and Practical Experience from Ethiopia
March 15, Webinar
Geordie Woods will provide an overview of the new IEC & Social Mobilization NTD Tool Kit, which leads users through a step-by-step process to systematically review, revise, develop and adapt current IEC materials and social mobilization approaches towards stronger, evidence-based practices in support of positive behavior change for MDA programs in the control of NTDs.

Boîte à outils de L’IEC et mobilisation sociale: Vue d'ensemble et leçons de l'éthiopie
March 16, Webinar
Geordie Woods présentera une vue d'ensemble de la nouvelle Boîte à outils de l'IEC et de la Mobilisation Sociale de la lutte contre les MTN qui permettra, étape par étape, aux utilisateurs d'examiner, de réviser, d'adapter et de développer systématiquement les matériaux actuels de l'IEC ainsi que les approches concernant la mobilisation sociale en vue de renforcer les pratiques basées sur des faits afin de soutenir les pratiques du changement de comportement positif au sein des programmes MDA au cours du contrôle des MTN.

Integrated Health Services: Moving beyond agreement towards measurement and action
March 17, Washington, DC (also via webcast)
RTI International
With the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 3 and the global drive to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the integration of health services is the subject of renewed interest.  It is largely agreed that integrated service delivery not only helps to enhance the efficiency and quality of health services, but also improves the health and well-being of health care users. This panel will explore how we can further build the evidence base for integration, in order to concretely demonstrate its value and also learn lessons to continually improve efforts. 

March 21, London, UK
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Developing partnerships & strategies in vector control

Molecular Helminthology: An Integrated Approach
March 19-22, Cape Cod, MA, USA
The conference is designed not just to present the recent findings in the field of molecular helminthology but also to take advantage of the remarkable advances anticipated and occurring in the field.

World Water Day
March 22
UN Water
Each year, UN-Water — the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation — sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. The engagement campaign is coordinated by one or several of the UN-Water Members with a related mandate.

Towards Elimination of Schistosomiasis in Cameroon 
March 22-23, Yaounde, Cameroon
SCH Control Program
This conference is the premier gathering in Cameroon for all stakeholders working to overcome the impact of schistosomiasis. It will bring together scientists, experts, donors, policy makers, non-governmental development organizations and students from all over the world to share and learn from each other's experiences and perspectives. The conference will provide a platform to discuss progress, challenges and strategies in shifting from a morbidity control approach to elimination of schistosomiasis. The structure of the conference consists of plenary presentations, panel-led discussions, group work and poster sessions. 

Improving Clinical Care and Public Health with Electronic Case Reporting
March 24, Webinar
Public Health Informatics Institute
Electronic case reporting (eCR), the automated generation and transmission of case reports from electronic health records to public health agencies, promises better data and a reduced reporting burden for health care. Hosted by ASTHO, NACCHO, JPHIT and PHII, the Improving Clinical Care and Public Health with Electronic Case Reporting webinar will highlight the value of eCR, details on the Digital Bridge partnership and its eCR efforts, and recommendations to advance eCR in your jurisdiction. A Q&A session will follow the presentations.

Cogan Ophthalmic History Society Meeting
March 24-26, Boston, MA
Cogan Ophthalmic History Society
The President and Executive Committee members, and our meeting host, John Gittinger, extend a cordial invitation for you to attend the 2017 meeting of the Cogan Society.  The meeting will be held at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, Massachusetts.

Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections  
April 3-5, Brisbane, Australia
The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience Centre for Superbug Solutions
SDRI 2017 is a multi-disciplinary scientific conference for the Asia Pacific region focused on Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections. This inaugural conference theme is New Drugs for Drug-Resistant Infections. 

Chagas Roundtable
April 6, Washington, DC, USA
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Register your interest to be involved at ISNTD's Chagas Roundtable in Washington D.C., Water 2017 or the ISNTD Festival.

World Health Day
April 7
World Health Organization
World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of our 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression.

Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems: Implementation, Leadership & Sustainability in Global Health
April 7-9, Washington, DC
Consortium of Universities for Global Health
Join more than 1,700 global health faculty, student, implementers and leaders from over 50 countries to explore the latest in global health, planetary health, and the role universities play in addressing global health challenges.

World Vaccine Congress 2017
April 10-12, Washington, DC
The 17th Annual World Vaccine Congress is the place where the global vaccine industry meets to discuss commercial and scientific issues around regulation, strategy, manufacturing, trials, partnering, influenza, cancer, emerging diseases and veterinary vaccines.

27th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium
April 27, Athens, Georgia
Center for Tropical & Emerging Global Diseases
This year's Keynote Address will be by Dr. Rick Fairhurst from the NIAID Malaria Pathogenesis and Human Immunity Unit. This symposium provides an opportunity for participants in the parasitology and vector biology programs at the University of Georgia and other regional institutions to gather for a 1-day interactive conference on parasites and host/parasite interactions.

Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections  
April 3-5, Brisbane, Australia
The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience Centre for Superbug Solutions
SDRI 2017 is a multi-disciplinary scientific conference for the Asia Pacific region focused on Solutions for Drug-Resistant Infections. This inaugural conference theme is New Drugs for Drug-Resistant Infections. 

World Health Summit Regional Meeting - North America
May 8-9, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Université de Montréal + Institut de recherches Cliniques de Montréal
The world leaders in global health will be attending this prestigious event, including over 800 researchers, doctors, industry leaders, decision-makers, government members and civil society actors from around the world. Based on the theme of “Health and Healthcare Delivery in Pluralistic Societies,” this interdisciplinary event will focus on the question of human diversity in the practice, education, research and public policy pertaining to health.

May 16-17, London, UK
The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
ISNTD d3 will bring together experts from within drug discovery and clinical trials to drive the debate and foster new partnerships & alliances leading to tangible outcomes in terms of new therapies to combat these diseases.

Vector Borne Disease 5 Day Workshop
May 22-26, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The MENTOR Initiative
The MENTOR Initiative is now delighted to be able to offer a new training course designed specifically to strengthen the capacity of agencies to implement effective and coordinated vector borne disease control activities, either as a focus or as part of broader disease control activities.

Antimicrobials and Drug Resistance
May 30-June 1, Las Vegas, USA
Antifungal and antiparasitic are class of medication for pharmaceutical fungicide or fungistatic used to treat and prevent mycoses and treatment of parasitic diseases, such as those caused by helminths etc, respectively. Invasive fungal infections causes significant health problem in immune compromised patients.  So as the clinical manifestations vary and can range from colonization in allergic broncho pulmonary disease to active infection in local aetiologic agents. Therefore drug dose monitoring is necessary to ensure the therapeutic levels achieved for optimal clinical efficacy.

Update Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers' Health
June 14-15, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
ASTMH has developed this course as an update in the essential components of tropical medicine and travelers' health. This two-day meeting is designed for physicians and for all other health care providers working in tropical medicine or travelers' health. Speakers are internationally recognized authorities in the field. 

Health Systems Summer Institute
June 12-23, Baltimore, Maryland
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The new Health Systems Summer Institute provides early- and mid-career public health professionals the skills necessary to address key health systems issues of today. The Institute is also a great opportunity for part-time MPH and other Hopkins students and fellows to learn a valuable set of skills in an in-demand, and rapidly growing field of public health.

The 7th International Lymphoedema Framework Conference
June 21-24, Siracusa, Sicily, Italy
The ILF 2017 Conference will gather practioners, researchers, affiliates and stakeholders from all over the world. It is thus a great opportunity to present your knowledge to a multi-stakeholder audience.

Advanced Residential Course on Poverty-Related and Neglected Tropical Diseases
July 17-August 4, Pemba Island, Zanzibar
Ivo de Carneri
The Course is addressed to professionals active or interested in public health, with diverse cultural and scientific background and competence. The Course is a practical opportunity to acquire a solid knowledge and a critical understanding on PR&NTD, thanks to the expertise of a high quality teaching team made of African and European lecturers with firsthand experience in the domain.

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. 

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.