Sign up to receive our news roundups

Trachoma MDA Launched in Pakistan, Onchocerciasis Diagnosis Could Leverage Space Station Technology & 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.

Malaria Consortium has been piloting integrated community case management (iCCM) in Sagaing Region, Myanmar. iCCM is an approach which includes diagnosis and treatment of three diseases, malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea, and in Myanmar we combined this with screening for malnutrition. In remote communities without any government health staff, Malaria Consortium retrained existing malaria volunteers in iCCM to deliver this essential healthcare to children under five in their communities.


Lymphatic filariasis

Prevalence and risk factors associated with lymphatic filariasis in American Samoa after mass drug administration

Shaun P. Coutts et al.
Tropical Medicine and Health
After 7 years of MDA, with four rounds achieving effective coverage, a representative household survey in 2007 showed a decline in prevalence from 16.5 to 2.3% in all ages. However, lack of further decline in adult prevalence by 2010 and fluctuation at the village level showed that overall antigenemia prevalence at a broader scale may not provide an accurate reflection of ongoing transmission at the village level.

Impact of mass drug administration for elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Nepal

Chet Raj Ojha et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Although Nepal has achieved significant progress towards LF elimination, five rounds of MDA were not sufficient to disrupt the transmission cycle in all districts, probably because of high baseline prevalence.

Pathological manifestations in LF correlate with lack of inhibitory properties of IgG4 antibodies on IgE-activated granulocytes

Ulrich F. Prodjinotho et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We investigated the role of this antibody in disease pathogenesis by comparing the effect of plasma, IgG and IgG4 fractions from the four clinical categories of individuals; chronic pathology individuals (CP), asymptomatic microfilaria positive (Mf+) and negative (Mf-) and uninfected endemic normal individuals (EN) on activated granulocytes.


First Successful Colorimetric LAMP Experiment Performed on ISS Opens Up New Possibilities for DNA-based Diagnostics in Space

Here on Earth, this [colorimetric loop-mediated isothermal amplification, or cLAMP] technique could be instrumental in improving healthcare in remote regions of the world. For example, river blindness, the second most common cause of blindness due to infection, is normally detected through either microscopic examination or PCR detection of the Onchocerca volvulus parasite, both of which require equipment and procedures that can be cumbersome for researchers that need a quick diagnosis out in the field.

Important progress towards elimination of onchocerciasis in the West Region of Cameroon

Guy-Roger Kamga
Parasites and Vectors
After more than 15 years of Community Directed Treatment with Ivermectin, there is an important progress towards the elimination of onchocerciasis in the communities surveyed. Innovative strategy like semi-annual ivermectin treatment plus vector control or the adjunction of a vector control strategy to the current annual treatment should be implemented in the bordering districts of the Centre and West Regions, as well as in other parts of the country with persistent high prevalences in the sight of onchocerciasis elimination.

Global blindness set to 'triple by 2050'

Tulip Mazumdar
Because the global population is growing and more people are living well into old age, researchers predict the number of people with sight problems will soar in the coming decades.

Genome-wide analysis of ivermectin response by OV reveals genetic drift; soft selective sweeps contribute to loss of sensitivity

Stephen R. Doyle
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We argue that ivermectin response is a polygenically-determined quantitative trait (QT) whereby identical or related molecular pathways but not necessarily individual genes are likely to determine the extent of ivermectin response in different parasite populations.


Using Epigenetics to Combat a Terrible Neglected Tropical Disease

Natalie Crowley
What Is Epigentics
In an effort to understand and control schistosomiasis, health officials around the globe are seeking strategies that target the life cycle of the parasite, ones that can block early development of the organism. Because epigenetics plays a role in host/pathogen co-evolutionary biology, researchers in the UK examined DNA methylation, a common epigenetic signaling tool, with the purpose of revealing key factors associated with this disease’s transmission.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

7.15 lakh children to be given deworming tabs

The New Indian Express
As many as 7,15,175 children in the age group 1 to 19 will be given deworming tablets on the National Deworming Day on August 10 in Ernakulam...The initiative aims to combat the Soil-transmitted Helminth (STH) infections which cause malnutrition and affect academic performances of children.


Mass drug administration launched against trachoma

The Daily Times [Pakistan]
A survey conducted by the National Trachoma Task Force has revealed that trachoma was the major cause of blindness in 54 districts of Pakistan.

Pfizer: Bringing Resources to Bear to Improve Global Health

Ethical Performance
Since the partnership was formed, this initiative has treated more than 100 million people in 36 countries. The watershed milestone of elimination of trachoma in Morocco is a true demonstration of how social entrepreneurship and partnership can work together to speed improvement of the health of individuals worldwide.


Vector-borne diseases: Health ministry creates online repository of campaign materials

Ekatha Ann John
Times of India
As the country, especially the southern parts, witnesses an outbreak of various vector-borne infections, the ministry of health and family welfare has created an online repository of campaign materials and programmes rolled out by individual states in their respective languages...The page will ensure that all information, education and communication materials related to vector borne diseases -- malaria, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, kala-azar, Japanese encephalitis and chikungunya -- can be found on a common platform.

Central Africa establishes the Africa CDC Regional Collaborating Centre to improve surveillance...

Central African countries meeting last week on Thursday and Friday operationalised the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (Africa CDC) Regional Collaborating Centre (RCC). The centre will coordinate the efforts of Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tomé and Principe and Chad to jointly strengthen surveillance, emergency response and prevention of infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Global health price tag could be $371 billion a year by 2030, WHO says

The report found that 85 percent of the costs could be afforded by national governments, but that 32 of the world's poorest countries would continue to need donor assistance.


Dangerous Dengue Fever Could Go Worldwide, with Help from Air Travel & Climate Change

Cynthia Wallentine
In a study published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a team of researchers used modeling, genetic sequencing, and socioeconomic, migration, and transportation trends to reach startling findings. The collaboration of global warming and global air travel could bring dengue to the doorsteps of countries not accustomed to dealing with the devastating third-world tropical disease.

Risk of exposure to potential vector mosquitoes for rural workers in Northern Lao PDR

Julie-Anne A. Tangena et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The highest risk of exposure to vector mosquitoes occurred when people visit natural forests. However, since rubber workers spend long periods in the rubber plantations, their risk of exposure is increased greatly compared to those who temporarily enter natural forests or remain in the village

School-based diagnosis and treatment of malaria by teachers using rapid diagnostic tests & artemisinin-based combination therapy

Treza Mphwatiwa et al.
Malaria Jounal
This qualitative study explored experiences and perceptions of users and implementers of a programme of school-based malaria case management via a first-aid kit—the Learner Treatment Kit (LTK)—implemented as part of a cluster-randomized controlled trial in Zomba district, Malawi...Training teachers to test for and treat uncomplicated malaria in schools was well received by both users and implementers alike, and was perceived by the majority of stakeholders to be a valuable programme.

Rapid Malaria Tests Work, but With Unexpected Drawbacks

Donald G. McNeil, Jr.
The New York Times
Rapid diagnostic tests have greatly improved malaria treatment in the last decade, but they also had some unexpected bad consequences, a large new study has found. As hoped, the tests — which use only a drop of blood and provide results in about 15 minutes — substantially decreased how many patients with fever were incorrectly given or sold malaria drugs when they did not have malaria.

Dr. Sylvia Meek Faculty of Tropical Medicine Scholarship for Entomology

Malaria Consortium
The Dr Sylvia Meek Scholarship for Entomology will cover all tuition fees, a research allowance to the total value of ZAR50 000, +/- £3,000, upkeep costs such as accommodation and board, an allowance for travel to South Africa (if non-national) and return home after completion of the programme, health insurance, and stationery costs for the duration of the MSc programme, i.e. a maximum of two calendar years, by which time the students should finish their degree.

Remote, rural populations in Myanmar receive improved healthcare

Malaria Consortium
Results from the project demonstrate that malaria volunteers have been successful in diagnosing and treating childhood illnesses, as well as screening for malnutrition, while remaining vigilant about increasingly rare malaria cases.

Why Did Zika Not Explode in Cuba? The Role of Active Community Participation to Sustain Control of Vector-Borne Diseases

Marta Castro et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Cuba’s early and successful response to Zika, grounded in the country’s long-standing dengue prevention and control program, serves as a model of rapid mobilization of intersectoral efforts

Upcoming Events

World Humanitarian Day
August 19
World Health Organization
Every day, humanitarian aid workers stand on the front lines of war and disaster, braving tremendous dangers and difficulties to deliver assistance to those who need it most. World Humanitarian Day (WHD), which takes place every year on 19 August, recognizes the aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and mobilizes people to advocate for humanitarian action. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.

IEA 2017 World Congress of Epidemiology
August 19-22, Saitama, Japan
International Epidemiological Association
Following the 20th WCE in Anchorage in 2014, we believe to provide opportunities to exchange information about the development of epidemiology in all the fields and to strengthen the relationship among epidemiologists in the world. The main theme is “Global/Regional/Local Health and Epidemiology in a Changing World”, which is appropriate one for discussing the 3-year development of epidemiology from 2014 through 2017.

World Mosquito Day
August 20
Malaria No More
World Mosquito Day on 20 August marks the historic discovery by British doctor Sir Ronald Ross in 1897 that female Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans, laying the foundations for scientists across the world to better understand the deadly role of mosquitoes in disease transmission and come up with effective innovative interventions.

Neglected Diseases in South East Asia: Building Capacity in Epidemiological Modelling
August 28-September 1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
University of Malaya
Southeast Asia countries face common threats from infections, including neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and neglected zoonotic diseases (NZDs) that particularly affect marginalized communities―the most vulnerable to exposure and least able to seek treatment. Understanding the transmission and control of infectious diseases can be aided by mathematical modelling, helping to predict disease outbreaks, quantify intervention impact, estimate economic and health-care burdens, and inform cost-effective public health strategies. This workshop will introduce participants to topics from bacterial & viral to helminth NTDs and NZDs through series of lectures and practicals followed by group discussions and Q&A sessions, addressing: a) basic models for vector-borne diseases; b) infection intensity frameworks for helminth infections, and c) models for zoonotic infections.

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.

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.

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.