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Collaborators Discuss Evolution of Approaches to Sustained Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases & 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. 


A nurse, Mamadou Kone, gives medecine, ivermectin, against onchocerciasis or river blindness, caused by a parasitic worm and spread by the bite of an infected blackfly, in the Ivorian town of Kouadioa-Allaikro. Credit: Issouf Sanogo

Lymphatic filariasis

Evaluating the Diagnostic Test Accuracy of Molecular Xenomonitoring Methods for Characterizing Community Burden of LF

Joseph Pryce and Lisa J Reimer
Clinical Infectious Diseases
MX [Molecular xenomonitoring] shows clear potential as tool for detecting communities where LF is present and as a predictor of human mf prevalence.

A strong effect of individual compliance with mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis on sustained clearance of STH

Jérémy T. Campillo et al.
Parasites & Vectors
Our results illustrate the importance of MDA compliance at the level of the individual with respect to the STH benefit provided by semiannual ALB MDA, which is used for the elimination of LF in Central Africa.


Scaling-Down Mass Ivermectin Treatment for Onchocerciasis Elimination: Modeling the Impact of the Geographical Unit ...

Wilma A Stolk et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
The geographical scale at which stop-MDA decisions are made strongly determines how rapidly national onchocerciasis programs can scale down MDA programs.

Safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of emodepside, a potential novel treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness)...

Jean-Yves Gillon et al.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Overall, emodepside had acceptable safety and tolerability profiles, no major safety concerns, after single oral administration of 20 mg as LSF and after multiple oral administration over 10 days at 5 and 10 mg OD and at 10 mg twice daily. For further clinical trials, the development of a tablet formulation overcoming the limitations observed in the present study with the IR tablet formulation is considered.

No Evidence Known Viruses Play a Role in the Pathogenesis of Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy. An Explorative Metagenomic Case

Michael Roach et al.
Despite the increasing epidemiological evidence that the Onchocerca volvulus parasite is strongly associated with epilepsy in children, hence the name onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE), the pathophysiological mechanism of OAE remains to be elucidated.

How does onchocerciasis-related skin and eye disease in Africa depend on cumulative exposure to infection and mass treatment?

Natalie V. S. Vinkeles Melchers et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We present generic model concepts for predicting trends in acute and chronic symptoms due to history of exposure to parasitic worm infections, and apply this to onchocerciasis. Our predictions suggest that onchocercal morbidity, in particular chronic manifestations, will remain a public health concern in many epidemiological settings in Africa, even after 30 years of MDA.

Eliminating onchocerciasis within the Meme River Basin of Cameroon: A social-ecological approach to understanding ...

Theobald Mue Nji et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
NTD programmes need to respond to diverse community circumstances and behaviours. Communities are not a homogeneous risk group and treating them in this way will delay elimination. A deeper understanding of individual needs and their capacity to seek prevention and treatment must be considered if onchocerciasis is to be eliminated and the remaining impacts managed.


Schistosomiasis with a Focus on Africa

Oyime Poise Aula, Donald P. McManus, Malcolm K. Jones and Catherine A. Gordon
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
There has been emphasis on the use of integrated approaches in the control and elimination of the disease in recent years with the development of health infrastructure and health education. However, there is a need to evaluate the present status of African schistosomiasis, primarily caused by Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium, and the factors affecting the disease as the basis for developing more effective control and elimination strategies in the future. This review provides an historical perspective of schistosomiasis in Africa and discusses the current status of control efforts in those countries where the disease is endemic.

Survey Design to Monitor Drug Efficacy for the Control of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis and Schistosomiasis

Luc E Coffeng, Bruno Levecke, Jan Hattendorf, Martin Walker, and Matthew J Denwood
Clinical Infectious Diseases
We present optimized survey designs to monitor drug efficacy in field settings, which are highly relevant for sustained control of soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis, as well as onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.

Urogenital schistosomiasis infection prevalence targets to determine elimination as a public health problem based on ...

Ryan E. Wiegand et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
A target of 5%, 8%, or 11% urogenital schistosomiasis infection prevalence in school-age children could be used to determine whether a geographic area has controlled or eliminated schistosomiasis as a public health problem depending on the local background threshold of microhematuria.

Increasing efficiencies from integrating control and elimination programmes for soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis

David Rollinson et al.
International Health
Attention is now beginning to focus on implementation of the new WHO NTD Roadmap (2021–2030), which presents single disease alliances and coalitions with an opportunity to consider novel ways to integrate and adapt control and elimination programmes to meet the new goals. This discussion piece links the parasitic worm diseases, caused by soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomes, highlighting that neglected tropical disease-control programmes could potentially benefit from greater cohesion and innovation, especially when increasing efforts to achieve elimination goals.

Project SCHISTO – One Health Research and Intervention on Schistosomiasis

One Health & Development Initiative
One Health and Development Initiative is happy to announce the inception of a new project – called Project SCHISTO which aims to promote integrated One Health research and intervention on Schistosomiasis in South-West Nigeria.

Call for experts: WHO Technical Advisory Group on schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases control and elimination

Jonathon King
World Health Organization
WHO is seeking experts to serve as members of a new Technical Advisory Group on control and elimination of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases. This call for experts provides information about the advisory group, the expert profiles being sought, the process used to express interest, and the process of selection.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Impact of Key Assumptions About the Population Biology of Soil-Transmitted Helminths on the Sustainable Control of Morbidity

Carolin Vegvari et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Using 2 independently developed models of STH transmission we show how different aspects of STH biology and human behavior impact on STH surveillance and control programs and how accounting for uncertainty can help to develop optimal and sustainable control strategies to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) morbidity target for STHs.

The control of soil-transmitted helminthiases in the Philippines: the story continues

Mary Lorraine S. Mationg et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Despite the major efforts to control STH infections for almost two decades in the Philippines, persistently high STH prevalence has been reported across the country, which is likely due to suboptimal MDA coverage and limitations in WASH and health education programs. Sustainable delivery of integrated control approaches will continue to play a pivotal role in the control and elimination of STH in the Philippines.

Deworming Coverage and its Predictors among Ethiopian Children Aged 24 to 59 Months: Further Analysis of EDHS 2016 Data Set

Getahun Fentaw Mulaw et al.
Global Pediatric Health
Maternal education and employment, paternal education, family size, decision-making process, maternal media exposure, place of delivery, vitamin-A supplementation, and a having history of diarrhea were predictors of deworming supplements.

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Diagnostic Accuracy of Mobile-Linked Point-of-Care Diagnostics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ernest Osei, Sphamandla Josias Nkambule, Portia Nelisiwe Vezi and Tivani P. Mashamba-Thompson
Evidence shows that the diagnostic accuracy of mobile-linked POC [point-of-care] diagnostics in detecting infections in SSA [Sub-Saharan Africa] is presently moderate. Future research is recommended to evaluate mHealth devices’ diagnostic potential using devices with excellent sensitivities and specificities for diagnosing diseases in this setting.

Human Intestinal Parasites: Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors among Grade School Children in Maksegnit, Northwest Ethiopia

Kefale Shiferaw, Teklemichael Tesfay, Girmay Kalayu, and Gebrehiwot Kiros
Journal of Tropical Medicine
Of the different variables assessed, age, gender, shoe wearing, and eating raw or undercooked vegetables were not significantly associated with the prevalence of intestinal parasites. However, a statistically significant association was observed between infected children and variables including defecation habit (AOR = 0.216), cleanliness of fingernails (AOR = 0.146), drinking river water (AOR = 0.124), and hand washing habit after defecation (AOR = 0.236) (). Regular deworming, education on personal hygiene, and environmental sanitation to both students and their parents shall be implemented to reduce the prevalence rate of intestinal parasitic infections in the study area.

Hand hygiene intervention to optimise soil-transmitted helminth infection control among primary school children...

Kenneth Makata et al.
BMC Medicine
The intervention was effective in increasing reported handwashing behaviour at school, but failed to show a similar effect in the home. The intervention had no effect on STH infection, possibly due to infection in the home environment, other transmission routes such as contaminated water or food or limited changes in school children’s handwashing behaviour.

Commentary: How foreign aid for medicine yields big economic returns

Edward Miguel
Los Angeles Times (United States)
Our new study, published this spring, found that the individuals who received additional deworming treatment in school (and are now in their late 20s and early 30s) reported 13% higher hourly wages and 14% higher spending than those who did not get the treatment. More of them also moved to large urban areas, which gave them better economic opportunities.


Forecasting Trachoma Control and Identifying Transmission-Hotspots

Seth Blumberg et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Sustainable control of trachoma appears achievable. However there are transmission-hotspots that are not responding to annual mass drug administration of azithromycin and require enhanced treatment in order to reach local control.

Noor Dubai Foundation and The Carter Center Renew Partnership to Eliminate Trachoma, Leading Infectious Cause of Blindness

The Carter Center
As part of its continued focus on the global fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the Noor Dubai Foundation renews its partnership with The Carter Center to wipe out trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness. Noor Dubai’s newest four-year commitment will contribute to the implementation of annual mass drug administration (MDA) in Amhara, which has safely resumed outreach after the COVID-19 pandemic briefly suspended most global health interventions in 2020. Over the next four years, the Noor Dubai-Carter Center collaboration aims to deliver 43 million doses of the antibiotic Zithromax® (donated by Pfizer), projected to impact approximately 14.3 million people. . . Additionally, the partnership is slated to carry out prevalence surveys to assess impact and support training sessions for more than 74,000 local health workers by 2025.


Approaches to sustained control of neglected tropical diseases need to evolve and adapt

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
To avoid reversing the gains achieved over the past decade, governments must take an active role in leveraging national systems and in providing comprehensive services to affected populations. Innovation should remain a high priority in this context. A few take-home messages emerged from a webinar that was jointly hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) this week.

Neglected tropical diseases and the burden on women

Lydia Atieno
The New Times (Rwanda)
"Addressing NTDs ensures that these women have the chance to be stronger, more productive, and able to enjoy their lives. We cannot achieve gender equality without ending the neglect of neglected tropical diseases,” she [Thoko Elphick-Pooley] says.

Sustainable Surveillance of Neglected Tropical Diseases for the Post-Elimination Era

Hollie-Ann Hatherell, Hope Simpson, Rebecca F Baggaley, T Déirdre Hollingsworth and Rachel L Pullan
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Nationally representative survey programs, such as demographic and health surveys (DHS), may offer a platform for the integration of NTD surveillance within national health systems and health information systems. Here, we describe characteristics of DHS and other surveys conducted within the WHO Africa region in terms of frequency, target populations, and sample types and discuss applicability for post-validation and post-elimination surveillance. . .To this end, we outline priorities for obtaining additional data to better characterize optimal post-elimination surveillance platforms.

Diagnosing point-of-care diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases

Mitasha Bharadwaj, Michel Bengtson, Mirte Golverdingen, Loulotte Waling and Cees Dekker
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We discuss the capabilities and shortcomings of current diagnostic tests, identify diagnostic needs, and formulate prerequisites of relevant PoC tests.

What Can Modeling Tell Us About Sustainable End Points for Neglected Tropical Diseases?

Amanda Minter, Lorenzo Pellis, Graham F Medley andT Déirdre Hollingsworth
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Mathematical models of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) will need to go beyond predicting the effect of different treatment programs on these goals and on to predicting whether the gains can be sustained.


The Philippines Just Beat Polio — and 4 Other Major Health Wins in 2021 So Far

Jaxx Artz
Global Citizen
Though it may seem like the most vulnerable populations will continue to suffer from health-related issues with no end in sight, there has been significant advancement in curbing disease outbreaks and ending stigma that prevents health concerns from being solved. As the world continues to fight COVID-19, here are five major health wins you may not have heard about that deserve celebration.

Is biological larviciding against malaria a starting point for integrated multi-disease control? Observations ...

Peter Dambach et al.
Future malaria larviciding programs should consider expanding onto the breeding habitats of other disease vectors, such as Aedes and Culex and evaluate their potential impact. Since the major cost components of such interventions are labor and transport, other disease vectors could be targeted at little additional cost.

Quality of life in patients with Chagas disease and the instrument used: an integrative review

Nayara Ragi Baldoni et al.
Journal of the Sao Paulo Institute of Tropical Medicine
The purpose of this study was to conduct an integrative review to analyze the QoL [quality of life] of patients with CD [Chagas disease] in the chronic phase of the disease, as well as the instruments used and the effect of different interventions.

Slideshow: Journey to Sierra Leone for the Debut of a Breakthrough Polio Vaccine

The Task Force for Global Health
Sierra Leone recently became one of the first countries to roll out a new vaccine intended to reduce cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus.

Watch: The Path to Zero Leprosy in Ghana

The Task Force for Global Health
A recent review found that Ghana has several strengths in its national program to fight leprosy and reduce disability, including: availability of resources for leprosy care and conducting contact tracing to find and help those affected by the disease. The review also identified areas of improvement to help accelerate Ghana’s progress, including: adequate logistical support, sufficiently trained medical staff, and a robust surveillance system. The Task Force’s Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy is conducting country reviews in collaboration with the WHO and the ministries of health in Ghana and other countries to review National Leprosy Programs and identify new approaches to lasting challenges. Watch to see what the Ghana team learned and how they are applying these insights to reach the goal of zero leprosy by 2040.

Sharing our expertise: Launch of the COMSTECH-NTD NETWORK researcher training webinar series

NTD Network
This June, COMSTECH and the NTD NETWORK are launching a virtual lecture programme drawing upon expertise from both our networks. These talks are aimed at academics, professional scientists and interested members of the general public from Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states and offer opportunities for specialists in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to gain or enhance their knowledge, skills and academic connections. Our first joint seminar, on 25th June 2021; “CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing of Leishmania and Drug Target Validation”, is presented by Professor Jeremy Mottram, University of York.

Snakebite envenoming in different national contexts: Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria

José María Gutiérrez, Kalana Maduwage, GarbaI liyasu and Abdulrazaq Habib
Toxicon: X
A comparative analysis of snakebite envenoming in Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria is presented. The approaches followed by the three countries in confronting snakebite envenomings are described. The availability, accessibility, and regulation of antivenoms for the treatment of envenomings are analyzed. The endogenous scientific and technological platforms to study and find solutions to envenomings are presented. The strengths and limitations of these countries are discussed, together with the main tasks for controlling this disease.


To Improve Global Health Security, We Must Not Abandon Tackling Existing Epidemics

Thoko Elphick-Pooley
Inter Press Service News Agency
As world leaders come together in the UK for the G7, the global response to COVID-19 and how we can build a better defense system against infection is at the forefront of discussions. Whilst we applaud the incredible global efforts in tackling COVID-19 and support calls for vaccines to be shared equitably across the world, we also urge G7 leaders not to abandon efforts to tackle existing epidemics such as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), HIV/AIDs, malaria, TB and polio.

Canadian Christian Organization to Help Prevent COVID-19 Deaths Among India’s Most Vulnerable

Anjay Nirula
Missions Box
Effect Hope will help Indians affected by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF), diseases that cause discrimination and stigma, gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

NOTE - Events may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers to confirm events.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs): The next 10 years towards elimination
June 28, 2021
SDGs Promise Japan

World Field Epidemiology Day 
September 7, 2021
Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network

NTD NGO Network Conference 2021
September 7-9, 2021
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network

COR-NTD 2021 Virtual Meeting
November 8-10, 2021
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting
November 17-21, 2021
American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases
March 6-9, 2022
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Eliminating Trachoma
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: impact and guidance
World Health Organization