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Thought Leaders Focus on Progress Against Sustainable Development Goals & 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. 

The world has been on an incredible path of progress – in our lifetimes we have witnessed the biggest decrease in poverty, disease and child deaths. But progress is not inevitable.



Lymphatic filariasis

Significant decline in lymphatic filariasis associated with nationwide scale-up of insecticide treated nets in Zambia

M.Nsakashalo-Senkwe et al.
Parasite Epidemiology and Control
Whilst a causal relationship between LF prevalence and ITN coverage cannot be proved, we propose that the scale-up of ITNs has helped to control Anopheles mosquito populations, which have in turn impacted on LF transmission significantly before the scale-up of MDA. Thus, helping to put Zambia on track to meet national and global goals of LF elimination by 2020.

Progress towards elimination of lymphatic filariasis in two districts of Maharashtra: scenario of last five years

Sanjeev M. Chaudhary, Sanjay S. Kubde and Mohan B. Khamgaonkar
International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health
The coverage found in the year 2011 in Nagpur district was 63%, after which it was consistently rising every year. Similarly in Bhandara district, the coverage found was 70% in the year 2010, after which there was a rise every year. But the actual consumption rate was far less when compared to the coverage reported by the drug distributor, or the medical officer (more than 90% compliance is reported every year). Commonest reason for not consuming the drug was fear of side effects of the drug, which they must have experienced in the previous years activity, or seen other persons having side effects.

The National Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis From Ethiopia

Belete Mengistu et al.
Ethiopian Medical Journal
The mapping of LF nationwide has been completed. The results indicated that LF is endemic in 70 districts in Ethiopia with 5.9 million people at risk of the disease and thus in need of annual treatment. To this end Ethiopia began the national LF elimination programme in 2009. In 2016, the programme aimed to achieve LF MDA coverage in all endemic districts with 100% geographical coverage.

Awareness on Disease Vital

Grace Auka Salmang
Papua New Guinea Post Courier
Awareness is needed on lymphatic filariasis also known as Elephantitis a disease spread by infected mosquitoes. Health Department’s lymphatic filariasis (LF) technical officer, Mary Yohog said this as the disease causes permanent disability, bullying at schools and socially discriminated and isolated.


Review of Ethiopian Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme

Kadu Meribo et al.
Ethiopian Medical Journal
Ethiopia envisaged to interrupt onchocerciasis transmission by 2020 and to be certified free from onchocerciasis by 2025. This goal requires strong programme implementation and monitoring in collaboration with developmental partners. There should be full geographic coverage and above the minimum recommended therapeutic coverage. In order to ensure that high MDA coverage is maintained MDA coverage surveys have to be carried out on regular basis.

MDP hosts WHO AFRO Regional Committee Meeting

Mectizan Donation Program
The Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) recently co-hosted a side event during the 67th World Health Organization African Regional Office (WHO AFRO) Regional Committee meeting to commemorate 30 years of Mectizan donation for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis (LF).


Paediatric and maternal schistosomiasis: shifting the paradigms

Amaya L. Bustinduy, J. Russell Stothard and Jennifer F. Friedman
British Medical Bulletin
The exclusion of two of the most vulnerable infected populations (pregnant women, [pre-school age children, or] PSAC) from schistosomiasis control programmes is detrimental not only to their own health present and future, but it also precludes the elimination of this parasitic disease in endemic areas. There is a disproportionate amount of evidence derived from other aspects of schistosomiasis at the expense of PSAC and pregnancy data, notwithstanding returned travellers. Paradigm shifts are not only needed to acknowledge light infections as pernicious to health and moving away from heavy worm burdens as the only accurate morbidity indices

Study reveals how nitric oxide impedes growth of ‘snail fever’ parasite

News Medical
Bilharzia, caused by a parasitic worm found in freshwater called Schistosoma, infects around 200 million people globally and its advance can lead to death, especially in children in developing countries. But the parasite's growth can be impeded by nitric oxide, an immune system chemical, produced naturally in healthy humans and animals, according to a study by a team of researchers from China, the UK and the USA published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ethiopia Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminthes Control Programme: Progress and Prospects

Nebiyu Negussu et al.
Ethiopian Medical Journal
The Ministry of Health has made a huge effort to establish neglected tropical diseases, including schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthes program in the health system which helped to map majority of the woredas and initiate nationwide intervention. The National control programme is designed to achieve elimination for those diseases as a major public health problem by 2020 and aim to attain transmission break by 2025. The programme focuses on reaching those school-aged children who are not attending school, integration between neglected tropical diseases programme, and further collaboration with the WASH actors.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Prospects for elimination of soil-transmitted helminths

Kristjana H. Ásbjörnsdóttir et al.
Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Interrupting the transmission of soil-transmitted helminths in some geographic areas could theoretically eliminate substantial morbidity and productivity loss while also the reducing resource burden that STH programs demand. Transmission interruption would eliminate the need for continued MDA, freeing up resources for other public health activities in resource-limited settings and limiting the need for pharmaceutical company donation programs which are currently planned through 2020.

The U.S. Thought It Was Rid Of Hookworm. Wrong

Nadia Whitehead
Thanks to widespread treatment efforts, education and economic development, the parasitic worm was eradicated in the U.S. although the exact date isn’t clear — somewhere between the 1950s and the 1980s. Hookworm was now just a problem of the developing world — or so we thought. Now, a new study has uncovered a community of people infected with hookworm in Alabama.


Is Ethiopia on track to achieving the global goal of eliminating Trachoma as a public health problem by 2020?

Teshome Gebre, Robin Bailey and Paul Emerson
Ethiopian Medical Journal
All available evidence demonstrates that Ethiopia carries the highest burden of trachoma and hence deserves maximum attention if the global goal of elimination by 2020 is to be achieved. The country has been making steady progress since 2013 in scaling up SAFE interventions in most parts (>85%) of the known endemic regions and districts.

Noor Dubai provides help to over 25m visually-impaired

Gulf News Health
Over 25 million visually impaired individuals from all over Africa and Asia have benefited from the free treatment and preventive programmes conducted by Noor Dubai Foundation since its inception in 2008, said Dr Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director General of the Dubai Health authority (DHA) addressing a special strategy workshop for the organisation on Tuesday.

Kenya launches program to eliminate trachoma

News Ghana
Kenya’s health ministry on Friday launched a 1 million U.S. dollar program that is aimed at eliminating trachoma from the country.


The Stories behind the Data

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2015, the member states of the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which together paint a picture of what we all want the world to look like in 2030. However, if we don’t reaffirm the commitment that has led to so much progress over the past generation, that world will remain out of reach. Leaders everywhere need to take action now to put us on the path we set for ourselves just two years ago.

Ending infectious diseases in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals

Mario Raviglione and Dermot Maher
Porto Biomedical Journal
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework calls for a shift from individual disease control strategies for TB, HIV, malaria, hepatitis and NTDs to a more coherent and global public health approach that also reflects the key feature of the SDGs that development sectors are integrated and indivisible. This shift is crucial in accelerating progress and meeting the ambitious global targets set for 2030.

Singapore leads the world in progress toward the health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Priyanka Bajpai
Biospectrum Asia
Singapore is closer than any other country in the world to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to new research published in The Lancet.

Global Burden of Disease Study

The Lancet
The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date. It describes mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries and risk factors to health at global, national and regional levels. Examining trends from 1990 to the present and making comparisons across populations enables understanding of the changing health challenges facing people across the world in the 21st century.

Changing trends of neglected tropical diseases in China

Shi-Zhu Li et al.
The Lancet
In The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Shigui Yang and colleagues analysed the epidemiological profiles and trends of 45 infectious diseases in China and found ten diseases substantially increasing from 2004 to 2013. Notably, two neglected tropical diseases, namely echinococcosis and schistosomiasis, had large increases, with echinococcosis increasing most, with an annual percentage change of 24·0%, and schistosomiasis increasing by the sixth largest amount, at 10·5%. However, caution is warranted as the incidence of the reported cases of these two diseases from the national notifiable infectious disease report system could not be deduced.

Neglected tropical diseases course now accessible via eLearning

World Health Organization
The free online eLearning Platform of the World Health Organization (WHO) now carries a section on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with a first course on post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL). This self-learning, engaging course has rich visual content and presents information from the two main endemic geographical areas where the disease occurs.


A Deadly Disease Threatens To Regain Ground Deep In The African Jungle

Hannah McNeish
Huffington Post
Formally known as human African trypanosomiasis, the illness is spread by tsetse flies that feed on human blood. Initially the parasite can cause flu-like symptoms ― fever, headaches, joint pain. A person can be infected for months or years with the more common form of the disease before major symptoms appear.

Estimating the number of cases of podoconiosis in Ethiopia using geostatistical methods

Kebede Deribe
Wellcome Open Research
The estimates of podoconiosis cases presented here based upon the combination of currently available epidemiological data and a robust modelling approach clearly show that podoconiosis is highly endemic in Ethiopia. Given the presence of low cost prevention, and morbidity management and disability prevention services, it is our collective responsibility to scale-up interventions rapidly..

Vaccine Developed toward Disfiguring and Deadly Parasitic Infection

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News
Since parasites are eukaryotic organisms, developing any treatment against them is problematic due to their complexity and evolutionary similarities to the host. However now, scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a unique, new experimental vaccine against the second deadliest parasite in the world—topped only by malaria—Leishmania.

Using NASA Satellite Data to Predict Malaria Outbrea

Samson Reiny
University researchers have turned to data from NASA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, which are able to track the types of human and environmental events that typically precede a malaria outbreak. With funding from NASA’s Applied Sciences Program, they are working in partnership with the Peruvian government to develop a system that uses satellite and other data to help forecast outbreaks at the household level months in advance and prevent them from happening.

Update on non-vector transmission of dengue: relevant studies with Zika and other flaviviruses

Lin H. Chen et al.
Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines
We highlight some reports on dengue virus that have documented non-vector transmission and that are relevant to the transmission of Zika virus and other flaviviruses.

Spread of Zika linked to how much time people spend outside

Marco Ajelli et al.
Whether a community is made up of people who spend their days entirely outside or those who rarely see sunshine, the amount of time residents spend outdoors can affect how Zika virus spreads throughout the population. That's the conclusion of a new study conducted in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and published this week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Prior Exposure to Zika Virus Significantly Enhances Peak Dengue-2 Viremia in Rhesus Macaques

Jeffy George et al.
Scientific Reports
The data reported here have implications for understanding the pathogenesis of both ZIKV and DENV infections especially in DENV naïve populations, and will aid in the development of better vaccines that can protect from these infections.

Zika virus has oncolytic activity against glioblastoma stem cells

Zhe Zhu et al.
The Journal of Experimental Medicine
Our findings suggest that because of its tropism for neuroprogenitor cells, Zika Virus (ZIKV) may offer a tailored therapy that could be used in combination with conventional therapies (e.g., cytotoxic chemotherapy) that target bulk tumor cell populations. The reason for its tropism for specific cells is uncertain, as no definitive ZIKV receptor has been established. Our study is a first step in the development of engineered ZIKV as a glioblastoma therapy.

Long-Term Effects of Ebola Virus Infection Revealed

Contagion Live
Although the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak may have ended, a new study out of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Translational Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has found that many survivors are suffering with “major limitations in mobility, cognition, and vision,” according to a press release on the research, from the university.

Parasite Linked with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases, Epilepsy, and Cancer

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News
Researchers from 16 institutions across the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, and Australia have now analyzed genetic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data from infected individuals, and from studies in cell cultures, to link T. gondii infection with a number of brain disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and even some cancers.

Upcoming Events 

The multidisciplinarity of parasitology: host-parasite evolution and control in an ever changing world
September 28-30, 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.

The 8th Annual NTD NGO Network Meeting
September 28-30, Dakar, Senegal
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network
The NNN 2017 Conference will focus on how we, as the NGO community, come together to facilitate this comprehensive approach and generate solutions and actions that can be implemented in the programmes we support. This won’t be just another NTD conference – it’s your chance to roll up your sleeves, have your say and shape the end result.

Designing and Managing Public Health Information Systems
October 2-November 27, Online
Informatics Academy
Designing and Managing Public Health Information Systems: 8 Steps to Success is a short, instructor-supported, distance learning course in public health informatics.

Diagnosing Health Behaviors for Global Health Programs
October 9-November 6, 2017, Online
John Hopkins University
This is a course that will examine the behavior of individual in depth in this course, we also recognize by way of the Ecological Model that individual behavior is encouraged or constrained by the behavior of families, social groups, communities, organizations and policy makers.

Digital Bridge Webinar Series: Building the Legal Framework Behind eCR
October 11, Webinar
Public Health Informatics Institute
As its first use case, the Digital Bridge initiative is working to establish a nationally scalable approach to electronic case reporting (eCR). Part of that work is identifying and defining the best legal approaches to make eCR more feasible. This webinar will highlight the challenges and recommended strategies to implement eCR on a national level.

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.

ISNTD Water 2017
November 23, 2017 London, UK
Natural History Museum
ISNTD Water provides the multidisciplinary platform and network for the research, charity and business sectors to partner and collaborate to address diseases and conditions of poverty worldwide.

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.