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The Gambia Eliminates Trachoma & 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. 

Photo credit: Sightsavers Gambia/Musa Joof B.

Lymphatic filariasis

In silico drug repurposing for filarial infection predicts nilotinib and paritaprevir as potential inhibitors ...

Alexander Kwarteng et al.
Scientific Reports
We hereby propose paritaprevir and nilotinib for experimental validations as anti-Wolbachia agents.

An Animation Featuring Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Activities Receives Animation Award ...

Eisai
Eisai Co., Ltd. announced that its animation “Leave No One Behind-Disease of Neglected People” which features activities for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) has received the Animation Award at the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) Festival 2021.

Onchocerciasis

Impacts of ivermectin mass drug administration for onchocerciasis on mosquito populations of Ogun state, Nigeria

Olaitan Olamide Omitola et al.
Parasites & Vectors
Ivermectin MDA resulted in the reduction of both the survival and density of Anopheles mosquitoes. This has strong implications for malaria transmission, which depends strongly on vector survival.

Schistosomiasis

Toward the Elimination of Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS)

Alfred Kwesi Manyeh
Premium Times (Nigeria)
As we celebrate the World Health Day with the focus on “Building a Fairer, and Healthier World”, there is the need for more concerted effort toward awareness creation, detection, treatment and prevention of FGS, together with other concomitant women’s health challenges or else FGS will remain a neglected gynaecological disease.

The UNAIDS Global Strategy 2021-2026 includes Female Genital Schistosomiasis

Global Schistosomiasis Alliance
The new Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026, End Inequalities, End AIDS, adopted by the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Boards in March, highlights the importance of integrating schistosomiasis prevention and FGS screening & treatment in women’s health services.

‘Take with Food’: How Parents in Tanzania are Supporting National Deworming Efforts

Act to End NTDs | East
Like many medicines that bear the instructions ‘take with food’, deworming treatments are better tolerated with a full stomach. That is part of what makes this day special. Local officials, teachers, and parents — supported by Tanzania’s Ministries of Health and Education — work together to provide a meal for children before they receive their medicine. This partnership is a model for countries working to increase the number of children reached with essential deworming treatments.

Distribution and factors associated with urogenital schistosomiasis in ... Cameroon

Adeline Enjema Green, Judith Kuoh Anchang-Kimbi, Godlove Bunda Wepnje, Vicky Daonyle Ndassi and Helen Kuokuo Kimbi
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Generally, THD is a moderate risk endemic focus for UGS but prevalence higher than 50.0% was observed in some communities. These findings warrant immediate mass chemotherapy with praziquantel to reduce morbidity. Provision of portable water and health education are proposed measures to reduce and eventually eliminate transmission in the area.

Impact of micro-environmental factors on survival, reproduction and distribution of Oncomelania hupensis snails

Mao-Mao Liu, Yun Feng and Kun Yang
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
The factors with positive impacts included water level, pH value, soil temperature, soil humidity, the coverage and height of vegetation at suitable levels. This could provide more detailed information for O. hupensis habitat identification and prediction. The factors with negative impacts included plant extracts, snail control and disease prevention forests, and microorganisms with molluscicidal activities. It revealed a potential application as ecological molluscicides in the future. Factors such as physico-chemical properties of water, soil chemistry showed a gap in scientific studies, thus required further extensive research.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

An investigation on the epidemiology and risk factors associated with soil-transmitted helminth infections in ... Nigeria

Akinsanya B, Adubi Taiwo, Macauley Adedamola and Okonofua C
Scientific African
The adult populations which are exposed to STH infection through occupation and interaction with the environment are excluded from the strategy. The exclusion of this group may have a deteriorating effect on the overall success of the annual MDA strategy and the elimination of the infection as this group may become a ‘reservoir’ of persistent transmission of STH in their communities. This study was conducted to show the possible impact of the exclusion of this age group in the community on the control of STH.

Statistical Regression Model of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene; Treatment Coverage; and Environmental Influences . . .

Collins Okoyo et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Analysis indicated that a combination of factors, including the number of treatment rounds, multiple related program interventions, community- and school-level WASH, and several environmental factors had a major influence on the school-level infection transmission and reduction.

Edaphic and climatic factors influence on the distribution of soil transmitted helminths in Kogi East, Nigeria

Clement Ameh Yaro et al.
Scientific Reports
A total of 24 environmental factors were used in determining the risk map of STHs using MaxEnt tool. . .Among the factors investigated; Temperature [mean diurnal temperature range (BIO2), temperature annual range (BIO7) and maximum temperature of the warmest month (BIO5)], precipitation [precipitation of the wettest quarter (BIO16)], and soil clay contents were the five factors that exerted most significant influence on the geospatial distribution of STHs in Kogi East, Nigeria.

Improved Detection of Intestinal Helminth Infections with a Formalin Ethyl-Acetate-Based Concentration Technique ...

Tobias Brummaier et al.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
The mainstay of diagnosis is the microscopic examination of faecal samples to detect parasites in the form of eggs, larvae and cysts. In an effort to improve the standard of care, the comparative accuracy in detecting helminth infections of the hitherto used formalin-based concentration method (FC) was compared to a previously developed formalin ethyl-acetate-based concentration technique (FECT), prior to the systematic deployment of the latter at a research and humanitarian unit operating on the Thailand–Myanmar border.

Strongyloides RNA-seq Browser: a web-based software platform for on-demand bioinformatics analyses of Strongyloides species

Astra S Bryant, Stephanie F DeMarco and Elissa A Hallem
G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics
To facilitate future genomics studies of Strongyloides species, we have designed a web-based application, the Strongyloides RNA-seq Browser, that provides an open source, user-friendly portal for accessing and analyzing Strongyloides genomic expression data.

Trachoma

The Gambia eliminates trachoma as a public health problem

Momodou Gassama
World Health Organization Africa
The Gambia has successfully eliminated trachoma as a public health problem, becoming the third African country to be validated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as having eliminated the disease as a public health threat.

Eye surgeries underway in Bor

Radio Tamazuj (South Sudan)
An eye medical camp targeting about 300 cataract and trachoma patients is underway in the Jonglei State capital, Bor.

Battling Trachoma in Yemen

Christian Blind Mission
A mass drug administration (MDA) to fight trachoma, which is supported by CBM and Sightsavers is due to recommence in May 2021.

Cross-cutting

Neglected tropical diseases are the landmines of global health

Albert Picado and John H Amuasi
The Guardian
How can we succinctly describe 20 different conditions that are caused by parasites, bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins? . . .Here’s an analogy that might help. Neglected tropical diseases are the landmines of global health.

Teaming for the endgame: how Canadian NGOs can help beat neglected tropical diseases by building networks and fostering partners

Chloé Eward
Canadian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
In Canada, recent survey research has demonstrated the opportunities for non-government organizations (NGOs) to collaborate and count their efforts in contributing to the global NTD control and elimination goals.

Going Further Together: Building Local Capacity to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

Deepti Silwal Bhattarai
Act to End NTDs | East
As a finance expert, I tend to focus on pluses and minuses. But even when working at banks or other large organizations, I always wanted to go beyond calculations and do work that could have a real impact on communities. Now I am part of a team that supports local institutions to improve the health and well-being of people in Nepal.

NTD Hackathon Winners Announced

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The Task Force for Global Health is thrilled to announce the winning teams of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Hackathon, “Spread Truth, Not Disease.” Twelve teams competed virtually on April 17 and 18 to create a solution for challenges surrounding rumors/misinformation relating to mass drug administration (MDA) or treatment-seeking behavior among those affected with NTDs. Congratulations Julia Hermann, Caroline Pane, Samuel Tomp, and Bridget Yates (Team 16) from Boston University (United States) for receiving first place! Their presentation, "Lymphatic Filariasis Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in Tanzania: Pill Pack," addressed challenges with mass drug administration.

Shortfall in research funding for the most neglected diseases: Reflections on the 2020 G-FINDER Report

Joelle Tanguy
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
The annual G-FINDER report, published yesterday, reviews critical trends in medical research and development (R&D) funding that translate into life and death for the world’s most vulnerable communities. The report highlights a continuing and worrying trend. Only 8.5% of neglected disease R&D funding in 2019 was allocated for the most neglected diseases: neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Billions in Cuts to UK Aid Would Be 'Devastating Chapter' in Britain's Proud History Tackling NTDs

Ellen Agler
Global Citizen
The recent reduction to the UK’s foreign aid budget forces some difficult decisions that could jeopardize this illustrious history. My hope is that one of those decisions is to honor the legacy of the UK’s historic commitment to NTDs. A cut to NTD program funding would be a setback for millions of people around the world, at a time when the possibility of seeing an end to these diseases is so tangible.

Other

World Chagas Disease Day 14 April 2021

World Health Organization
In 2021 we are shining a spotlight on Chagas disease, the suffering it causes and are calling for comprehensive and equitable access to health care and services for everyone affected by the disease. Chagas disease is prevalent among poor populations of continental Latin America but is increasingly being detected in other countries and continents.

70% of people with Chagas don't know they're infected

Daniel Epstein, Nancy Nusser and Sebastián Oliel
Pan American Health Organization
On the eve of the annual World Chagas Disease Day (14 April), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warns that 70% of people living with the disease do not know they are infected.

Bringing Chagas disease to people’s attention

Novartis
Chagas disease affects approximately six million people, mainly in Latin America. The disease can be silent for decades until it may become fatal, leading to cardiovascular complications in up to 30% of patients. Like other neglected tropical diseases, Chagas disease often affects poor and marginalized communities. For the second time in history, the global community officially celebrated World Chagas Disease Day in April 2021 to bring the disease to people’s attention. Discover the stories of people affected by Chagas disease.

Unitaid commemorates World Chagas Disease Day with a new initiative to prevent mother-to child transmission of Chagas

Unitaid
Mother-to-child transmission is a major infection route for Chagas transmission. In addition to vector control, active screening, and appropriate treatment options for women of childbearing age, their new-borns and their children could substantially limit congenital transmission and reduce the number of new infections. Importantly, early detection of infection in infants can reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths related to Chagas disease. As this week marks the commemoration of the second edition of World Chagas Disease Day 2021 (14th of April), Unitaid and the Ministry of Health of Brazil have come together to support a new US$ 19M joint initiative to improve access to affordable point-of-care diagnostics, better treatment, and comprehensive care for women and new-borns in four endemic countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Paraguay.

Without Easy Access to Clean Water, How Can Communities Fight Water‑Related Diseases?

Aditi Murti
The Swaddle (India)
Water and health are intimately interlinked, and the neglect that manifests in providing readily available clean water reflects in the current condition of those who live with filaria. Though there may be sophisticated preventative and treatment plans to rid endemic districts in India of neglected tropical diseases, bridging inequality is the only way to make it go away.

Toilets – what will it take to fix them?

Josie Glausiusz
Nature
The need for innovative toilets is enormous. In 2017, two billion people lacked a minimally adequate toilet, and 673 million people still had to defecate in the open. Poor sanitation is linked to the transmission of diseases including cholera, typhoid, polio, hepatitis A and trachoma. Access to clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the cost of achieving this is tens of billions of dollars per year, as two new books explore: Pipe Dreams, by Chelsea Wald; and Waste, by Catherine Coleman Flowers.

Cost-effectiveness modelling to optimise active screening strategy for gambiense human African trypanosomiasis in endemic areas

Christopher N. Davis, Kat S. Rock, Marina Antillón, Erick Mwamba Miaka and Matt J. Keeling
BMC Medicine
We highlight the current recommended strategy—annual screening with three years of zero case reporting before stopping active screening—is likely cost-effective, in addition to providing valuable information on whether transmission has been interrupted.

Epidemiology of dengue virus infections in Nepal, 2006–2019

Komal Raj Rijal et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
There is a high risk of dengue outbreak in the lowland Terai region, with increasing spread towards the mid-mountains and beyond as seen over the last 14 years. Urgent measures are required to increase the availability of diagnostics and resources to mitigate future dengue epidemics.

Knowledge, attitude, practice and associated factors of health professionals towards podoconiosis in Gamo zone, Ethiopia, 2019

Chuchu Churko, Mekuria Asnakew Asfaw, Abayneh Tunje, Eyayou Girma and Zerihun Zerdo
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research
Despite, high percent of good knowledge of health professionals towards podoconiosis, clinical experience of health professionals in treating podoconiosis patients was very low. In-service trainings will be given for health professionals to improve treatment. In podoconiosis endemic districts hygiene supplies and other referencing materials should be made available for podoconiosis case management.

Epidemiology and sex differences of podoconiosis in Ethiopia: A systemic review and meta-analysis

Brhane Berhe et al.
Heliyon
The prevalence of podoconiosis in Ethiopia is high. This review suggested that females are at higher risk of developing podoconiosis than males, particularly in rural communities which has health promotion and awareness implications regarding protective wear.

RESOURCE: World Scabies Program Information

World Scabies Program
The World Scabies Program is dedicated to reducing the impact of scabies on children and communities. This information package is designed to give an overview of the program and accompany the launch of the World Scabies Program website.

RESOURCE: Decision Guidance Toolkit for People-Centered Integration of Health Campaigns

Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition
The purpose of the toolkit is to assist diverse officials and stakeholders at the country and global levels to identify and collect information on the potential opportunities for health campaign integration.

GRANT OPPORTUNITY: Presenting the Falcon Awards

Global Institute for Disease Elimination
We are excited to announce the launch of our inaugural Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination to help advance the elimination of malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and onchocerciasis. We will award five grants of up to US$200,000 each to organisations based in endemic countries.

COVID-19

How should Indonesia consider its neglected tropical diseases in the COVID-19 era? Hopes and challenges (Review)

Shifa Fauziyah et al.
Biomedical Reports
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) pandemic, some countries, including Indonesia, have faced a double burden with regards to disease control. As Indonesia is a tropical country, it serves as a suitable host for disease vectors and multiple microorganisms of causative agents of disease. In total, five of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) should be a consideration in Indonesia during the COVID‑19 pandemic, including leprosy, yaws, filariasis, soil‑transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis. The present review summarises the preparedness of Indonesia in facing NTDs during the COVID‑19 pandemic

Research Roundup: COVAX reaches 100 countries, at-home antibody test authorized, and a next-generation vaccine starts phase 1...

Anna Kovacevich
Global Health Technologies Coalition
The global vaccine initiative COVAX has delivered 38.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 102 countries and economies, six weeks after it began its rollout around the world, according to a World Health Organization statement released Thursday.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition Test and Learn Series, Session 2 - Community Factors Shaping Campaign Effectiveness
April 27, 2021
Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition  

Compassion, Commitment, and Innovation: A Symposium on Onchocerciasis Control in Africa
April 28, 2021
Berkley Center at Georgetown University and co-sponsored by the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics 

30th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium
May 4, 2021
Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia

Workshop: Female Genital Schistosomiasis
May 4-11, 2021
The Geneva Learning Foundation

The Future of Global Health Diplomacy
May 13, 2021
Women in Global Health

Addressing the issue of 'systematic non-compliance' in mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis
May 13, 2021
iCHORDs and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Rising to the challenge: A year of NTD programming and research during COVID
June 10, 2021
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Topics in Infection 2021
June 18, 2021
The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting 2021 
June 20-26, 2021
The Commonwealth

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