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WHO Recommends Mass Deworming, Novel Compounds Identified for Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis Treatments & 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.

Deworming Infographic - World Health Organization

The World Health Organization announced the first-ever guidelines confirming that deworming improves child health & nutrition.


Lymphatic filariasis

LF Increases Tissue Compressibility & Extracellular Fluid in Lower Limbs of Asymptomatic Young People in Central Myanmar

Janet Douglass et al.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
When normal lymphatic function is hampered, imperceptible subcutaneous edema can develop and progress to overt lymphedema. Low-cost reliable devices for objective assessment of lymphedema are well accepted in clinical practice and research on breast-cancer related lymphedema but are untested in populations with lymphatic filariasis (LF).

Continental-scale, data-driven predictive assessment of eliminating the vector-borne disease, LF, in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020

Edwin Michael et al.
BMC Medicine
We have developed and applied a data-driven spatially hierarchical computational platform that uses the discovery of locally applicable transmission models in order to predict the prospects for eliminating the macroparasitic disease, LF, at the coarser country level in sub-Saharan Africa. We show that fine-scale spatial heterogeneity in local parasite transmission and extinction dynamics, as well as the exact nature of intervention roll-outs in countries, will impact the timelines to achieving national LF elimination on this continent.

Guyana intensifies fight to eliminate Filaria by 2020

Feona Morrison
Kaieteur News
With Guyana looking to achieve total elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis by 2020, Ministerwithin the Ministry of Public Health, Karen Cummings, declared the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign—aimed at eliminating the disease and Intestinal Worms, opened yesterday at Square of the Revolution

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
Anopheline mosquitoes are primary vectors of LF in Africa, and it is possible that the significant scale-up of malaria vector control over the past decade may have also impacted LF transmission, and contributed to a decrease in prevalence in Zambia.

Webinar: LF Dossier Development and the Validation Process

Envision, WHO
This webinar explains the WHO process for validating elimination of LF as a public health problem and provides examples of developing the dossier.

Identification and prioritization of novel anti-Wolbachia chemotypes from screening a 10,000-compound diversity library

Kelly L. Johnston et al.
Science Advances
Targeting the Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts in these parasites with doxycycline leads to a macrofilaricidal outcome, but protracted treatment regimens and contraindications restrict its widespread implementation. The Anti-Wolbachia consortium aims to develop improved anti-Wolbachia drugs to overcome these barriers.


River Blindness Treatments Break Record

The Carter Center
In 2016, The Carter Center assistedvin a total of 37,212,547 mass ivermectinvtreatments (Mectizan,® donated by Merck) for river blindness in six countries, av33 percent increase from 2015 and 87vpercent of the 2016 treatment target.vThe program’s cumulative treatmentsvsince 1996 have now reached 278 million.


Droplet digital PCR diagnosis of human schistosomiasis: parasite cell-free DNA detection in diverse clinical samples

Kosala G. Weerakoon et al.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
This verified droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) method represents a valuable new tool for the diagnosis and surveillance of schistosomiasis, particularly in low prevalence and low intensity areas approaching elimination and in monitoring areas where disease emergence or re-emergence is a concern.

Ramping up efforts to control and eliminate schistosomiasis in Uganda

Demran Ali
Imperial College in London
Interventions to control schistosomiasis have been ongoing in the country for over 15 years and great progress has been made so far. However, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uganda, with the support of partners including the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI), met to re-invigorate efforts and further drive momentum towards elimination as the country’s schistosomiasis programme enters its advanced stages.

Schistosomiasis research and control since the retirement of Sir Patrick Manson in 1914

Alan Fenwick
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
On 14 December 2016, Professor Alan Fenwick OBE delivered the prestigious ‘Manson Lecture’ to the Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the Royal Society in London. This paper, based on the Manson Lecture, presents the research carried out to study the epidemiology of schistosomiasis in Africa and test the various control tools as they were proposed from 1914 to date.

VIDEO: Infectious Thoughts Interview: Enwono Eyoh (University of Edinburgh)

Kamran Rafiq
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases
Enwono Eyoh speaks to the ISNTD about current research at the University of Edinburgh's Parasite Immuno-epidemiology group on a vaccine for schistosomiasis, as well as the road ahead in terms of potential challenges and partnerships.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

WHO recommends large-scale deworming to improve children’s health and nutrition

Christian Lindmeier, Ashok Moloo and Chris Strebel
World Health Organization
WHO has long promoted large-scale treatment for intestinal worms, but this is the first guideline approved by WHO’s Guidelines Review Committee confirming that deworming improves the health and nutrient uptake of heavily infected children.

Efficacy of recommended drugs against soil transmitted helminths: systematic review and network meta-analysis

Wendelin Moser, Christian Schindler and Jennifer Keiser
All four currently recommended drugs show limitations in their efficacy profile. While only albendazole showed good efficacy against hookworm infection, all drugs had low efficacy against T trichiura. The decrease in efficacy of albendazole against T trichiura over the past two decades is of concern.

Ghana kickstarts deworming of 1.3 million school children

News Ghana
Authorities in Ghana have kickstarted here the national school deworming exercise across the country to protect children against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The five-day program, from Oct. 2 to 6, is part of the efforts aimed at reducing the prevalence of NTDs, a group of infectious and parasitic diseases, in Ghana by 2020.


Prevalence of signs of trachoma, ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection and antibodies to Pgp3 in residents of Kiritimati Island

Anaseini Cama et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In some Pacific Island countries, such as Solomon Islands and Fiji, active trachoma is common, but ocular Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection and trachomatous trichiasis (TT) are rare. On Tarawa, the most populous Kiribati island, both the active trachoma sign "trachomatous inflammation-follicular" (TF) and TT are present at prevalences warranting intervention

VIDEO: How trachoma affects mothers and children

The Fred Hollows Foundation
Trachoma is a bacterial infection that affects the eye. Eighty per cent of those affected are women, most of them mothers. As they look after their children, they get exposed to the infection, and with limited access to health care, they risk going completely blind. But, trachoma is preventable and treatable.

Surveillance Surveys for Reemergent Trachoma in Formerly Endemic Districts in Nepal From 2-10 Years After MDA Cessation

Sheila K. West et al.
JAMA Ophthalmology
This study found no evidence of reemergence of trachoma up to 10 years after cessation of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in 4 districts in children in Nepal. The recommendation for a surveillance survey at 2 years, as proposed by the World Health Organization, is supported by these data. Determining if individuals with trachomatous trichiasis (TT) had scarring or are known to the health system was critical for meeting elimination criteria of blinding trachoma.

Narok on course to rid itself of trachoma by 2019

Victor Wanaswa
The trachoma disease will be a thing of the past in Narok and neighbouring Counties by 2019. This is after the Operation Eyesight Universal through the Narok county referral hospital health department announced measures it has put in place through its trachoma eradication programme to see the county being trachoma free by the end of 2019 .

Noor Dubai Foundation completes 7 years

Noora ElKouka
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
Noor Dubai Foundation is proud to celebrate seven years of spreading eye care and treating preventable blindness! First launched as an initiative in 2008 aimed at treating and preventing visual impairment through educational and treatment programmes, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, officially launched Noor Dubai Foundation as a foundation in 2010.

Trachoma Review Looks to 2020 Elimination Goal

The Carter Center
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter engaged representatives from each country in a rapid-fire succession of questions about their 2016 achievements and 2017 targets and challenged each country to meet its targets for elimination and to call upon The Carter Center for any assistance needed. Attendees agreed on general and country-specific recommendations that will guide their programs over the next year and into the future.


Tedros announces WHO senior leadership team

Jenny Lei Ravelo
The World Health Organization on Tuesday released the list of senior officials who serve as the leadership team under Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

VIDEO: Neglected tropical diseases in the Western Pacific Region

WHO Western Pacific Region: WPRO
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a medically diverse group of infections caused by a variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths...Approximately 100 million people in the Region are at risk of infection from at least one of the NTDs and are a public health issue in at least 28 countries and areas in the Region, resulting in significant negative impact on health and economies.

Global health policy and neglected tropical diseases: Then, now, and in the years to come

Thomas Fürst et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Obviously, much has been achieved in the fight against NTDs over the past years with regards to (global) health policy and financing, but major challenges are still ahead. In order to address these challenges and sustain the momentum also when NTD prevalences and morbidities dwindle, it may be advisable to complement the original rallying cry about the “neglect” of the respective tropical diseases. Major achievements and particularly historic opportunities for success in the control, elimination, and—in the cases of dracunculiasis and yaws—even eradication of NTDs should be strongly emphasised to ensure a continued buy-in from existing partners and to mobilise additional stakeholders.

Appropriations committees in U.S. Congress vote to maintain funding for Global Fund and PEPFAR

David Garmaise
The appropriations committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have approved funding for global health programs for the fiscal year 2018 at about the same levels as the previous year. In so doing, the committees ignored the budget proposed by President Donald Trump which called for cuts of $2.5 billion overall, including $225 million less for the Global Fund and $1 billion less for PEPFAR.


Global leishmaniasis update, 2006–2015: a turning point in leishmaniasis surveillance

World Health Organization
Weekly Epidemiological Record
In 2015, among the 200 countries or territories reporting to WHO, 87 (44%) were considered endemic for CL; 4 (2%) had previously reported CL cases; 75 (38%) were considered as endemic for VL; and 7 (4%) had previously reported VL cases. In absolute numbers, the endemic countries and territories were well distributed among the 6 WHO regions.

Disease Detective Calls Out World’s Apathy Toward Forgotten Illnesses

Hannah McNeish
Huffington Post
For the past seven years, Laudisoit’s team has traveled huge distances on their mission to identify more than a dozen possible monkeypox carriers. They track critters. They track infected people. If a bushmeat hunter kills an animal and the carcass tests positive for monkeypox, Laudisoit’s team is on it.

NIMR trains scientists on molecular diagnosis of trypanosomes

Bukola Adebayo
The Punch
The Deputy Centre Leader, Africa Centre of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Yakubu Ibrahim, has said there is a need for scientists to keep abreast of new molecular techniques of diagnosing trypanosomes.

Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030

Global Task Force on Cholera Control
The World Health Organization
Ending Cholera—A Global Roadmap to 2030 operationalises the new global strategy for cholera control at the country level and provides a concrete path toward a world in which cholera is no longer a threat to public health.

Former President Jimmy Carter Chosen as 2017 Prix Galien Pro Bono Humanum Honoree

Markets Business Insider
Just one year ago, The Carter Center reached a major milestone with the delivery of 500 million doses of donated medicines to target tropical diseases in 14 African and Latin American countries. The Carter Center has played a leadership role in the elimination of river blindness, a parasitic infection, in four of the six Latin American countries where it was endemic (Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala), and has halted the disease's transmission in several locations in Africa where more than 99 percent of the global cases exist.

New LG smartphone keeps mosquitoes away

Rishi Iyengar
The LG K7i, launched by the South Korean firm at the India Mobile Congress this week, is embedded with technology that it says will keep mosquitoes away.

Visualizing The True Impact Of The Sustainable Development Goals

Ben Paynter
Fast Company
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington to release its inaugural Goalkeepers report, which will be published annually to show whether progress toward the global goals is continuing.

The Story of the Little Fire Ant, and Why Modern Medicine Can Learn From Indigenous Cultures

John P. Roche, Ph.D.
Entomology Today
Lesions of the cornea that cause white discolorations of the eye, called leukomas or corneal opacities, have been discovered for decades in humans, domestic animals, and wild animals...A new paper in the Journal of Medical Entomology reports that the cause of these lesions has been known for a long time by indigenous peoples in Colombia. What is the cause? Wasmannia auropunctata, also known as the little fire ant.

PODCAST: Dave Ross on low-tech informatics and the "box of rocks"

Piper Hale
Inform Me, Informatics
For many people, the term "informatics" is synonymous with "technology." It invokes buzzwords like "big data" and "the cloud." But in this special bonus episode of the podcast, Dr. Dave Ross delves into global health history to illustrate how a successful informatics solution can be built with some nails, planks of wood and paint–with a little bit of help from a bike messenger.

Upcoming Events 

Designing and Managing Public Health Information Systems
October 2-November 27, Webinar
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

Project Zero
October 24, Webcast
The Carter Center
Experience two new, 360° virtual-reality videos from HuffPost’s “Project Zero,” which documents neglected tropical diseases, including the Carter Center’s work on river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in Nigeria. A panel will discuss the challenges of eliminating the diseases worldwide and their experiences creating stories with this cutting-edge technology.

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.

Reaching The Last Mile
November 15, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Reaching The Last Mile is a milestone convening of global health leaders focused on accelerating the elimination of deadly infectious diseases, such as polio and malaria, and preventable NTDs, such as Guinea-worm disease and River Blindness.The Forum will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and is driven from His Highness’ conviction that no human should die from a preventable disease, and that investment in health is crucial to global development.

ISNTD Water 2017
November 23, 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.