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All-female "Super Shrimp" Developed to Fight Schistosomiasis & 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.  

Prawn Release in Gankette, Senegal


Lymphatic filariasis

Yemen eliminates lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis)

Mark Bradley, Simon Moore, Joni Lawrence, Yao Sodahlon, Pam Eisele and Carol Richardson
Mectizan Donation Program
MSD (trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA), GSK, and the Mectizan® Donation Program congratulate the government, and the people of Yemen for receiving validation by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. This remarkable achievement has alleviated suffering for hundreds of thousands and highlights the perseverance of many dedicated partners.


Building a Passion for Research: Q&A with CRFilMT Founder, Joseph Kamgno, MD, PhD

Gabrielle Corrigan
The Task Force for Global Health
Without partnerships, much – potentially all – global health work would be fruitless. That is why we decided to catch up with one of our key partners who has been instrumental in the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) research community. Joseph Kamgno, MD, PhD, runs the Center for Research on Filariasis and other Tropical Diseases (CRFilMT) in Cameroon where his team of 20 researchers, four Lab Technicians and numerous trainees support elimination and control efforts on NTDs for Cameroon, as well as other neighboring countries. Since 2003, he has partnered with The Task Force for Global Health on various efforts, bringing his wealth of disease and field-based knowledge to help our programs and the global NTD community to stop these devastating diseases.

Lions Clubs Spends $37m On Humanitarian Projects In Nigeria

Sundiata Post (Nigeria)
Lions Clubs International says it has spent 37 million dollars (N11.32 billion) on various humanitarian projects across Nigeria in the last 30 years. . . [Samuel] Ekpuk said some of the projects were: first-ever Accident Clinic in Nigeria; Lekki Motherless Babies Home; construction of Mercy Home at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); establishment of an Eye Centre in Isolo, Lagos and Ota, Ogun State. Others were two million dollars to eradicate Onchocerciasis or River blindness disease in Nigeria; $850, 000 to rehabilitate Osogbo General Hospital, establishment of Cancer Centre at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).


Ben-Gurion University Develops Disease-fighting 'Super Shrimp'

Rachel Wolf
The Jerusalem Post
Ben-Gurion University Prof. Amir Sagi and his PhD student Tom Levy say their “super shrimp” could be the key to reducing poverty, helping the environment and controlling disease outbreaks. These super shrimp are male shrimp that have two female sex chromosomes and no male sex chromosomes, which enables them to produce only female offspring. According to a BGU press release, the resulting all-female shrimp could be the key to success because they could “both increase aquaculture yields, as well as serve as a natural agent to prevent the spread of harmful, water-bound parasites.”

Unavoidable Risks: Local Perspectives on Water Contact Behavior and Implications for Schistosomiasis Control in an Agricultural

Andrea J. Lund et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Our analysis reveals three key findings: 1) rural villagers understand schistosomiasis risk (i.e., where and when infections occur), 2) accordingly, they adopt some preventive behaviors, but ultimately, 3) exposure persists, because of circumstances characteristic of rural livelihoods. These findings highlight the capacity of local populations to participate actively in schistosomiasis control programs and the limitations of widespread drug treatment campaigns. Interventions that target the environmental reservoir of disease may provide opportunities to reduce exposure while maintaining resource-dependent livelihoods.

Impact of chronic schistosomiasis and HBV/HCV co-infection on the liver: current perspectives

Hanan Hassan Omar
Hepatic Medicine: Evidence and Research
Schistosomiasis is a public health problem in many countries. Its prevalence is increasing annually; the current infection rate is one in 30 individuals. The WHO reported that at least 206.4 million people all over the world required preventive treatments for schistosomiasis in 2016. Chronic schistosomiasis, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection are common in countries where schistosomiasis is endemic. The effects of the hepatotropic virus co-infection may modify the Th2-dominated granulomatous phase of schistosomal infection. These viruses induce a strong-specific T cell response, with infiltration of large numbers of specific interferon-γ-producing CD8+ cells into the liver.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Community-level epidemiology of soil-transmitted helminths in the context of school-based deworming. . .

Katherine E. Halliday et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Most epidemiological studies of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections focus on school-going children. The majority of large-scale cross-sectional and longitudinal community-based studies have been conducted prior to the implementation of wide-scale mass drug administration (MDA). This study investigates age-related patterns in prevalence and intensity of STH infection, and associated risk factors, in a region of south coastal Kenya that had previously received three consecutive years of school-based deworming (2012–14) and four rounds of community-based MDA for lymphatic filariasis between 2003 and 2014.


New Study Sheds Light on What It Will Cost to End Trachoma Globally

RTI International
Published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the study investigated how much it costs to carry out the impact and surveillance surveys required by the World Health Organization (WHO) to track progress against trachoma. After analyzing 322 surveys across 11 countries, researchers found that the median cost of surveys — about $8,298 USD — differed significantly across countries but did not vary significantly by survey type, data source or years of implementation.

'Fred believed this was a social justice movement': Hollows' plan to stop Indigenous blindness

Julie Power
The Sydney Herald (Australia)
The Fred Hollows Foundation has launched a $40 million plan to stop Indigenous Australians going blind at three times the rate of other Australians. . . Nearly 50 years ago, the late Fred Hollows, an ophthalmologist, was shocked when he treated two Aboriginal men from Wattie Creek, NT, who had blinding trachoma. Trachoma, caused by a kind of untreated conjunctivitis spread by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis, had disappeared from mainstream Australia nearly 100 years ago. Though the rate has dropped, one in 25 Aboriginal children has an active case of trachoma, according to this year's report on Indigenous eye health by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


The Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): A Case Study. . .

Emily Wainwright et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
In 2006, following direct advocacy and published rationale, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) established a neglected tropical disease (NTD) program to support the scale-up of integrated platforms targeting the elimination and control of five NTDs—lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. By 2017, a cumulative total of over 2.3 billion NTD treatments had been delivered to at-risk populations in 25 countries, leveraging $19 billion in donated drugs – approximately $26 dollars in donated medicine per $1 spent by USAID. As a result, most of the supported countries are on track to achieve their elimination goals (for lymphatic filariasis and trachoma) by 2020 or 2021 and their control goals soon thereafter.

World Economic Forum Set To Discuss Ending Neglected Tropical Diseases

East African Business Week
The END Fund CEO and WEF Africa Co-Chair, Ellen Agler will host a multisectoral discussion themed “Ending Neglected Diseases to Enable Africa’s Prosperity” on how ending neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) can contribute to fulfilling Africa’s growth potential and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The END Fund is one of the leading global organizations dedicated to ending NTDs on the African continent. Ms. Agler will be joined by Dr. Mwele Malecela, Director of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO, Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation, Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Founder and Co-Chairperson, Higherlife Foundation.

TICAD Pledges to Spur More Investments in Global Health

The Global Fund
The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) made a strong pledge by Africa and Japan to invest in health in efforts to end infectious diseases, strengthen health systems and deliver universal health coverage. . . Controlling communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, polio and neglected tropical diseases are fundamental to African development, the conference declared. At the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan told delegates that at the G20 summit in Osaka in June, Japan had pledged new funding to fight HIV, TB and malaria and build health systems through the Global Fund that will contribute to saving one million lives over the next three years.


Zero Leprosy Toolkit

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
The Zero Leprosy Toolkit is a set of field-tested best practices designed to support countries in their work towards ending leprosy and its associated disabilities and stigma. Some tools are scientific evidence-based, while others are practice-based because of their valuable contribution they’ve made to programmes. The tools were collected and reviewed under leadership of the national leprosy programme managers and partners for their relevance for the larger leprosy community. This toolkit is part of the Zero Leprosy Country Model.

How visceral leishmaniasis spread through central-Southern Brazil

Vanete Thomaz Soccol
In the new work, Vanete Thomaz-Soccol, of Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR), and colleagues genetically analyzed 132 isolates from dogs, humans and sand flies collected in central-Southern Brazil. In addition, historical records of VL cases in central-Southern Brazil were collected by searching publically available literature databases for relevant publications.

Kenyan Scientists Discover New Way to Kill Malaria Parasite

Yvonne Wabai
The African Exponent
In results from trials in Burkina Faso, Ivermectin, a bacteria-derived drug used for parasitic diseases, reduced the rates of transmission of malaria. Ivermectin is used to treat river blindness, scabies, and head lice, amongst others. The drug reportedly made the blood of people repeatedly vaccinated lethal to mosquitoes. The trial also found that Ivermectin can kill Plasmodium falciparum - the malaria parasite species most likely to cause severe malaria and death.

How to stop deadly outbreaks of diseases like Ebola — before they occur

Keizo Takemi and Achim Steiner
The Japan Times
apan is taking a lead role in this area. The Access and Delivery Partnership — a collaboration between the government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases and PATH — is supporting developing countries to strengthen their health systems, including by addressing challenges in policy and regulatory environments. Such investment will improve their access to ground-breaking health care innovations. UHC cannot be achieved by any one actor alone — every actor must play their part in building resilient health systems. That means tapping into the varied expertise that can be provided by a wide range of actors, including governments, civil society, the U.N. system including the WHO, key partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as bilateral development agencies, donors and the private sector.

This Idahoan landed on Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders list. Here’s how she did it

Maddie Capron
Idaho Statesman
This year, Agler was named one of Fortune magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” She also released her new book, “Under the Big Tree: Extraordinary Stories from the Movement to End Neglected Tropical Diseases,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press. And she landed a $50 million TED Audacious award to scale up the END Fund’s work to deliver deworming treatment to 100 million people.

Upcoming Events

20th International Leprosy Congress
September 11-13, Manila, Philippines
The International Leprosy Association (ILA) once again presents its compliments to the Philippines authorities for accepting to host the 20th International Leprosy Congress (20th ILC). After "hidden challenges" in Brussels in 2013 and "unfinished business" in China in 2016, the 20th ILC definitely gives us the opportunity to turn to current challenges with ambition and realism.

Female Genital Schistosomiasis: Opportunities for Research
September 15, Liverpool, UK 
On Sunday, September 15, 2019, experts in neglected tropical diseases, HIV, gynecology, and related fields will convene for a meeting on female genital schistosomiasis (FGS). The aim of this meeting is to identify priority research questions regarding the measurement, treatment and control of FGS in order to guide the agenda of future operational research on this important, neglected gynecological disease. In addition, this one-day meeting will look at opportunities to engage with at-risk local communities, in-country gynecological services and HIV programs. 

11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
September 16-20, Liverpool, UK 
RSTMH is hosting the 11th ECTMIH in 2019, on behalf of the Federation of European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health (FESTMIH), at the ACC in Liverpool, UK. Every two years, ECTMIH 2019 brings together more than 1,500 scientists and experts from across the world. The Congress provides a platform for sharing research and innovation in the field of tropical medicine and global health.

ECTMIH session: Schistosomiasis Control Through The Ages
September 17, Liverpool, UK 
The GSA Research working group have secured an organised session at the upcoming European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health conference in Liverpool this September. The GSA session, called Schistosomiasis Control Through the Ages, will present innovative research projects and findings on the impact and treament of schistosomiasis in specific age-groups and genders.

The 10th NTD NGO Network (NNN) Conference
September 17-19, Liverpool, UK 
The chosen theme for the 2019 conference is 'Our vision beyond 2020: many partners, one voice'

Celebrating U.S. Leadership in Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases
September 18, Washington, DC
As a result of the incredible partnership between Congress, multiple Administrations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, tremendous progress has been made to eliminate neglected tropical diseases. . . Join us in celebrating this highly successful effort, which is a powerful example of how U.S. foreign assistance can support countries on their journey to self-reliance.

6th International Symposium on One Health Research
September 18-19, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
An opportunity for foreign scientists to interact closely with high-ranking Mongolian leaders who specialize in human and animal research leading to numerous research collaborations and discoveries.

Achieving UHC: A Sustainable Future for Africa
September 23, New York, NY
This UHC Conference will feature Heads of State, African Union leaders, Ministers and youth leaders from across Africa who will discuss how to best leverage high-level political leadership to achieve UHC for Africa. UHC strategies place the most vulnerable at the center of the health system, ensuring that they have access to the fundamental conditions of human health together with access to quality care in their communities. This conference will spotlight successful efforts, identify synergies within and outside the health community, and promote effective solutions to achieve a sustainable and healthy future for all. Do not miss this unique opportunity.

World Rabies Day
September 28
September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. World Rabies Day is observed in many countries, including the United States.

East African Research in Progress 2019
September 26-28, Moshi, Tanzania
This is the third year we are running the East African Research in Progress meeting (EARIP) in association with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. This meeting is designed specifically for early career investigators to present their unpublished research in progress to peers and senior experts in all fields of tropical medicine and global health.

World Sight Day
October 10
World Sight Day—the most important advocacy and communications day in the eye health calendar—is on 10 October 2019. When was the last time you got an eye exam? Your family, friends and colleagues? This World Sight Day, let’s pledge to take an eye exam—and encourage others to do the same! We have the data and evidence. We also have projections into the future–an ageing world population, myopia and diabetic retinopathy are set to increase vision impairment in the coming decades.

Sustainability & Development Conference
October 11-14, Ann Arbor, MI
The conference is supported by several University of Michigan departments, as well as the journal World Development. It will cover a suite of key themes related tosustainability and development, but broadly focuses on the many global efforts to realize the SDGs and to assess the outcomes of SDG interventions.

Sustainability & Development Conference
October 11-14, Ann Arbor, MI
The conference is supported by several University of Michigan departments, as well as the journal World Development. It will cover a suite of key themes related tosustainability and development, but broadly focuses on the many global efforts to realize the SDGs and to assess the outcomes of SDG interventions.

Triangle Global Health Annual Conference
October 16, Durham, NC
Join us for the 2019 Triangle Global Health Annual Conference on October 16 in Durham, North Carolina! Our 2019 theme is One Health: Creating our Shared Future. The program sessions will include a mix of speakers, panels, workshops, and poster sessions which showcase current One Health best practices and encourage attendees and presenters to engage around key issues impacting human, animal, and environmental health across a spectrum of application areas.  

The Global FETP Enterprise: Applied Epidemiology in the 21st Century
October 28 - November 1, Atlanta, GA
The 10th TEPHINET Global Scientific Conference (with the theme, "The Global FETP Enterprise: Applied Epidemiology in the 21st Century") is a can’t-miss event that will give attendees an opportunity to engage with key players at the forefront of these various efforts, as we work together to shape our way forward.

ASTMH 68th Annual Meeting
November 20-24, National Harbor, Maryland
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. 

Epidemics7: International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics
December 3-6, Charleston, SC
Join us for the Seventh International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics to share another three days of intense dialogue on our ideas, data, insight, models and methods. This conference regularly attracts over 400 scientists, with representatives from many of the major research groups in this area worldwide. If you want to meet many of your peers in this field, this is the place to go. 

International Conference on NTDs in Africa (IncoNTD)
December 4-6, Nairobi, Kenya
The 1st International conference on NTDs (IncoNTD) in Africa is being jointly organized with the 13th Kenya Ministry of Health and Kenya Medical Research Institute Annual NTD Conference from December 4 – 6, 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. IncoNTD provides a unique opportunity for policy makers, implementers, researchers from different disciplines, students, funders and other NTD stakeholders who work on NTDs in Africa to come together under one forum to share their work and ideas in an organized fashion. Collaboration with the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) through IncoNTD, provides an opportunity for synergy by raising the international profile of the 13th Kenya MoH and KEMRI Annual NTD Conference, while providing good traction for future iterations of IncoNTD.

11th IAPB General Assembly
October 12-14, 2020, Singapore
The General Assembly will mark the end of the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight period. It will present a great opportunity to take stock, celebrate successes and make plans for the future. A key focus will be on the WHO’s World Report on Vision and its framework for the future. The event will have three co-chairs leading on three streams: “Excellence”, “Eye Health in the West Pacific” and “Sustainability”. 

Expo 2020 Dubai: Global Best Practice Programme
October 20 2020 - April 10, 2021
Expo 2020 Dubai’s platform to showcase projects that have provided tangible solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. It will highlight simple but effective initiatives, which localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and can be adapted, replicated, and scaled to achieve an enhanced global impact.