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Human African Trypanosomiasis Elimination "Ahead of Target," Researchers Consider Impact of Seasonal Movement on MDA & 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.


Haiti Mayor MDA

Mayor Nice Simon leads by example by taking her dose of mass drug administration in Tabarre, Haiti



Lymphatic filariasis

Elephantiasis, HIV fast spreading in Sunyani Municipality

Dennis Peprah
Ghana News Agency
Elephantiasis is fast spreading in the Sunyani Municipality, Mr. Robin Appiah, the Municipal Health Promotion Officer said on Tuesday. He said 10 cases had been recorded and victims had been placed on life drugs. Interacting with the chiefs and people of Atuahenekrom, Ohukrom, Kufor Camp and Atronie in the Municipality, Mr. Appiah said the disease had no links with witchcraft, hereditary, or family curse, but that it was rather caused and spread by a particular type of mosquito.

ERC bears treatment expense of Yemeni woman suffering from elephantiasis

Gulf Today
In a kind humanitarian gesture, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) announced that it would bear the treatment expenses of an 18-year old Yemeni woman suffering from Lymphatic filariasis in India.


Onchocerca - infected cattle produce strong antibody responses to excretory-secretory proteins released from adult male worms

Djafsia Boursou et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
This study demonstrates that O. ochengi ES products and, in particular, extracts from male filariae may represent a good source of immunogenic proteins and potential vaccine candidates.

Evaluation of in vitro culture systems for the maintenance of microfilariae and infective larvae of Loa loa

Denis Zofou et al.
Parasites & Vectors
Suitable and scalable in vitro culture conditions for parasite maintenance are needed to foster drug research for loiasis, one of the neglected tropical diseases which has attracted only limited attention over recent years, despite having important public health impacts. The present work aims to develop adequate in vitro culture systems for drug screening against both microfilariae (mf) and infective third-stage larvae (L3) of Loa loa.


Socioenvironmental factors associated with Schistosoma mansoni infection and intermediate hosts in an urban area of Brazil

Taíssa Alice Soledade Calasans
Schistosomiasis, which is caused by trematodes of the genus Schistosoma and by the species Schistosoma mansoni in Brazil, is transmitted primarily by Biomphalaria glabrata mollusks.This study aimed to evaluate potential foci of schistosomiasis based on the identification of infection sites for the snails, factors that increased the human infection probability of S. mansoni infection, and the relationship of the disease with abiotic, biotic, and sociocultural factors.

Ethical and scientific considerations on the establishment of a controlled human infection model for schistosomiasis in Uganda

Alison M. Elliott et al.
AAS Open Research
To explore the possibility of establishing the Controlled Human Infection for schistosomiasis in Uganda, a Stakeholders’ Meeting was held in Entebbe in 2017. Regulators, community members, researchers and policy-makers discussed implementation challenges and recommended preparatory steps . . . It was recommended that, on completion, the protocol and product dossier be reviewed for approval in a joint meeting combining ethical, regulatory and environment management authorities. Most importantly, representatives of schistosomiasis-affected communities emphasized the urgent need for an effective vaccine and urged the research community not to delay in the development process.

Schistosomiasis in Zambia: a systematic review of past and present experiences

Chester Kalinda, Moses J. Chimbari and Samson Mukaratirwa
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
This study uses an information-theoretical approach to understand the biogeography and prevalence schistosomiasis and identifies knowledge gaps that would be useful to improve policy towards surveillance and eradication of intermediate hosts snails in Zambia.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Soil-transmitted helminth infections and nutritional status in Ecuador: findings from a national survey

Ana L Moncayo, Raquel Lovato and Philip J Cooper
BMJ Open
The estimation of prevalence and intensity of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections at a country-level is an essential prerequisite for the implementation of a rational control programme. The aim of this present study was to estimate the prevalence and distribution of STH infections and malnutrition in school-age children in rural areas of Ecuador.

New Drug Resistance Test Could Help Strengthen Deworming Programs

The Task Force for Global Health
A groundbreaking new test to detect drug resistance in intestinal worms is expected to be ready for proof of concept testing early next year. This test could help large-scale treatment programs identify resistance before it takes hold within a population. The Task Force program Children Without Worms (CWW) has been working with partners over the last year to spur the development of the resistance test, which will be the first of its kind for humans. Similar tests exist for identifying drug resistance in livestock with soil transmitted helminthiasis.

(S)WASH-D for Worms: A pilot study investigating the differential impact of school versus community-based control programs

Naomi E. Clarke et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) control programs typically consist of regular delivery of anthelminthic drugs, targeting school-aged children. Expanding STH control programs community-wide may improve STH control among school-aged children, and combining deworming with improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) may further reduce transmission. The (S)WASH-D for Worms pilot study aims to compare the differential impact of integrated WASH and deworming programs when implemented at primary schools only versus when additionally implemented community-wide.

Community-based programs may lower odds of helminth infection

Gerard Gallagher
“These results provide preliminary evidence and proof of principle for testing our hypothesis that a community-wide control program will be more effective at reducing STH infections in children than a school-based control program,” the researchers concluded. “Our findings agree with a recent meta-analysis, as well as with mathematical modeling studies, highlighting the additional benefits of expanding STH control programs community-wide.”


First treatments for trachoma distributed in Yemen

Antibiotics to treat blinding trachoma have been delivered to thousands of people living in remote corners of war-torn Yemen for the first time. More than 444,000 doses of the drug Zithromax®, donated by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, were driven by local health officials through conflict zones and past road blocks to the rural Al Hodeidah and Ibb regions, where trachoma – a painful but preventable eye disease – remains prevalent.

Ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection under the SAFE strategy in Amhara, Ethiopia, 2011-2015

Scott D Nash et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
This study aimed to understand the effect of SAFE (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement) interventions on ocular chlamydia in Amhara, Ethiopia by describing the infection prevalence in a population-based sample of children ages 1-5 years. After 5 years of SAFE there was still appreciable ocular chlamydial infection in children ages 1-5 years, indicating that transmission has not been interrupted, and that interventions should continue.

Australia signs historic eyecare agreement

Matthew Woodley
Australia and other Commonwealth member nations will work towards providing universal eyecare access, following an historic agreement at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in London. The commitment, made by the various heads of state at the biennial event, also includes a pledge to eliminate trachoma by 2020, a blinding disease that still affects some remote Indigenous communities in Australia. In Australia, more than 450,000 people are blind or vision impaired, of which an estimated 90% is preventable or treatable.


Spread the word: We’re winning the global fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Paul Wisenfeld
Overall, around the world many countries and districts are seeing greatly reduced disease burdens. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 1.5 billion treatments were delivered to more than 1 billion people in 2016 alone. And in the countries that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting to fight NTDs, nearly 200 million people are no longer at risk for lymphatic filariasis and nearly 85 million people are no longer at risk for trachoma.

Haiti Launches Annual Mass Distribution Of Medicine To Prevent NTDs

Kara Eberle
IMA World Health
Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the Haiti Neglected Tropical Disease Control Program (HNTDCP) launched its annual mass drug administration (MDA) to prevent lymphatic filariasis and soil transmitted helminths with events April 23 at the Ministry of Communication in Port-au-Prince and April 26 in Tabarre at the mayor’s office . . . During the Tabarre launch, Mayor Nice Simon set an example by taking the medicine that would be distributed to the region to prevent LF and STH.

NTDs, violent conflicts, and the role of military in global health

Krisztian Magori
Violent conflict destroys health infrastructure and kills or injures health professionals, as was evidenced in Syria through the bombings by the Syrian and Russian forces. Conflict also destroys supporting infrastructure, such as transportation, communication and electrical grids, as well as vector control and mass drug-administration programs, food and water distribution, and safety and sanitation services. In particular, the author suggests that violent conflict threatens the achievement of the WHO and London Declaration targets for NTDs.

Impact of mass drug administration campaigns depends on interaction with seasonal human movement

Jaline Gerardin, Amelia Bertozzi-Villa, Philip A Echhoff and Edward A Wenger
International Health
Seasonal movement of populations into and out of [mass drug administration, or] MDA target areas is common in many places and could potentially fundamentally limit the ability of MDA campaigns to achieve elimination. A mathematical model was used to simulate malaria transmission in two villages connected to a high-risk area into and out of which 10% of villagers traveled seasonally. Mistiming MDA relative to seasonal travel resulted in much poorer outcomes than mistiming MDA relative to the peak transmission season within the villages.

African Grants Program Builds Local Capacity to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

John Amuasi
The Task Force for Global Health
Last year, The Task Force and its partners launched a USAID-funded grants program to support African scientists in conducting operational research studies on the control and elimination of these diseases. The initiative was spearhead by John Amuasi, PhD, executive director of the African Research Network for NTDs (ARNTD). Here, he talks about the impetus behind the Small Grants Program that currently supports six researchers who are tackling barriers to the control and elimination of NTDs in their home countries of Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Togo.

GHS put in-place measures to tackle tropical diseases

Ghana News Agency
The fight to control and eradicate skin-related neglected tropical diseases has been given added momentum by the acquisition of a fleet of vehicles and motorbikes in support of the national programme. The 18 Toyota pickups, three Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and 15 Yamaha motorbikes will be distributed to 15 selected districts including Akuapem North, Akuapem South, Asante-Akim North, Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Ayensuano, Biakoye, Jasikan and Mpohor.


The world gears-up to eliminate sleeping sickness by 2020

World Health Organization
Under WHO’s leadership, national control programmes, bilateral cooperation agencies and nongovernmental organizations have substantially reduced cases of the disease to unprecedented low numbers and raised hopes for its elimination as a public health problem by 2020.

Why miltefosine—a life-saving drug for leishmaniasis—is unavailable to people who need it the most

Temmy Sunyoto, Julien Potet and Marleen Boelaert
BMJ Global Health
Miltefosine, the only oral drug approved for the treatment of leishmaniasis—a parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies—is considered as a success story of research and development (R&D) by a public-private partnership (PPP). Today, access to miltefosine remains far from secure. The initial PPP agreement which includes access to the public sector is not enforced. The reality on the ground has been challenging: shortages due to inefficient supply chains, and use of a substandard product which led to a high number of treatment failures and deaths.

Ancient DNA study reveals HLA susceptibility locus for leprosy in medieval Europeans

Ben Krause-Kyora et al.
Nature Communications
Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae), was very common in Europe till the 16th century. Here, we perform an ancient DNA study on medieval skeletons from Denmark that show lesions specific for lepromatous leprosy (LL). The comparison of genotype data from 69 M. leprae DNA-positive LL cases with those from contemporary and medieval controls reveals a statistically significant association in both instances.

Exploring Fast And Low-Cost Strategies In Drug Discovery For Chagas Disease: The Alternative Quest For New Effective Treatments

Marianne Simões-Silva and Maria de Nazaré Correia Soeiro
Science Trends
Scientists have been working effortlessly for many years seeking the “golden pill.” A huge number of new molecules have been designed based on ligand-target interaction through computational molecular modelling; substantial libraries of compounds from the pharmaceutical industry have been made available and tested, going through the hit-to-lead optimization process, but so far, the best ones are still not better than the standard treatment in pre-clinical trials (in vitro and in vivo assays).

A cryptic cycle in haematopoietic niches promotes initiation of malaria transmission and evasion of chemotherapy

Rebecca S. Lee, Andrew P. Waters and James M. Brewer
Nature Communications
Blood stage human malaria parasites may exploit erythropoietic tissue niches and colonise erythroid progenitors; however, the precise influence of the erythropoietic environment on fundamental parasite biology remains unknown. Here we use quantitative approaches to enumerate Plasmodium infected erythropoietic precursor cells using an in vivo rodent model of Plasmodium berghei.

In a Corner of Senegal, a Victory Over Malaria

Amy Yee
The New York Times
The flow of migrant workers once made Richard Toll a malaria hot spot in Senegal. But a partnership between government and a private company has had remarkable results fighting the disease.

Drug use in the management of uncomplicated malaria in public health facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nsengi Y. Ntamabyaliro et al.
BMC Malaria Journal
Management of uncomplicated malaria in [Democratic Republic of the Congo, or] DRC is characterized by a low adherence to treatment policy, numerous treatment regimens, and abundant concomitant medication potentially harmful to the patient. This may contribute to the low performance of DRC in malaria control. Determinant of this irrational use of drugs need to be assessed in order to formulate and implement efficient corrective measures.

Distribution of Plasmodium spp. infection in asymptomatic carriers in perennial and low seasonal malaria transmission settings i

Constant G. N. Gbalégba et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
The objective of this study was to assess the asymptomatic malaria case rates in Korhogo and Kaedi, two urban areas in northern Côte d’Ivoire and southern Mauritania, respectively. Cross-sectional surveys were carried out during the rainy season in 2014 and the dry season in 2015 in both settings. Overall, 2672 households and 15 858 consenting participants were surveyed. Our findings show a low prevalence of clinical malaria episodes with a significant proportion of asymptomatic carriers in both urban areas.

Upcoming Events

48th National Immunization Conference
May 15-17, Atlanta, Georgia
The Task Force for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC Foundation 
The NIC brings together more than 1,500 local, state, federal, and private-sector immunization stakeholders and partners to explore science, policy, education, and planning issues related to immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases. The conference also offers participants an opportunity to learn innovative strategies for developing programs and policies, and advancing science to promote immunization among all ages today for a healthy tomorrow.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Implementation Research: Infectious Diseases of Poverty
May 17, Online (Worldwide)
World Health Organization TDR 
This course is a step-by-step online training for public health researchers and decision-makers, disease control programme managers, academics and others that focuses on how to design and demonstrate robust IR projects to improve control of infectious diseases of poverty and generate better health outcomes. Registration is now open. The first course will be made available on May 17, 2018.

MSF Scientific Days 2018
May 24-25, London, UK
Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)
The MSF Scientific Days share the knowledge of what works in humanitarian medical programming. The aim is to help improve the quality of care provided to patients and populations by sharing research conducted in our field programmes.

Social Network Interventions to Improve Targeting for Neglected Tropical Diseases
May 29, London, UK
Imperial College London 
In this talk, Dr. Goylette Chami will present some results from an ongoing study tracking ~25,000 people during routine mass drug administration in rural villages bordering Lake Victoria in Uganda. Analysing en masse distribution of preventive chemotherapies as a diffusion process on village social networks reveals information for the seeding and targeting of global health interventions that is in contrast to conventional medical approaches.

8th International Conference of the International Lymphoedema Framework
June 6-9, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The principal topics for the conference will include: clinical diagnosis and assessment, self-management, epidemiology and pathophysiology, lymphoedema management, oncology rehab, national guidelines, outcome measures, and pediatric and primary lymphedema.

Innovations for Universal Health Coverage
June 11-12, Bengaluru, India
The aim of the Innovation for UHC Collaboration is to find ways to leverage the transformational potential of these innovations and accelerate progress towards achieving UHC in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in Asia and Africa. It is led by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a global centre of excellence in public health, Amref Health Africa (Amref), the leading health development NGO in Africa and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the leading centre in multi-disciplinary approaches to development.

Update Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Traveler's Health
June 12-13, New Orleans, Louisiana
American Society for Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
ASTMH has developed this course as an update in the essential components of tropical medicine and traveller's health. This two day meeting is designed for physicians and for all other health care providers working in tropical medicine or traveler's health. 

GAELF10 Meeting
June 13-15, New Delhi, India
The 10th Meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF)

Snakebite: From Science to Society
June 21-22, Leiden, the Netherlands
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Naturalis organises a 2-day international conference ‘Snakebite : from science to society’ to draw attention to a devastating, neglected tropical disease and to ignite international action on snakebite prevention and treatment. By bringing together science, government, industry and societal & humanitarian aid organisations, we want to take the first steps in developing solutions for the issues concerning snakebites in the tropics.

June 25-26, London, UK
ISNTD d3 will bring togther experts from within drug discovery and clinical trials to drive the debate and foster new partnerships & alliances leading to tangible outcomes in terms of new therapies to combat these diseases.

ITI Trachoma Expert Committee Meeting
June 26-28, Atlanta, Georgia
International Trachoma Initiative's Trachoma Expert Committee Meeting is an independent body of internationally recognized experts that meets twice annually to review country applications for donations of Zithromax®. 

Eradicate Malaria World Congress 2018
July 1-5,  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.

5th International Conference on Neglected Tropical & Infectious Diseases
August 29-30,  Boston, Massachussetts
Theme: Uniting all to overcome and fight against NTD's & infectious diseases for improved health protection.

NNN 2018 
September 24-26, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
We are delighted to announce the dates for the 9th NNN annual conference, subject to venue availability.

10th Euro-Global Conference on Infectious Diseases
September 27-29, Rome, Italy
Theme: Advancing in science and improving care to prevent infectious diseases.

International Conference on Migration Health
October 1-3, Rome, Italy
Hosted by the international Society of Travel Medicine.

67th Annual ASTMH Meeting 
October 28 - November 1, New Orleans, Louisiana
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. 

7th Global Scabies Control Meeting
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
We are pleased to announce the date for the 7th Global Scabies Control meeting. The meeting will be held on Sunday 28th October in New Orleans, LA, USA. Please mark this in your diaries now! Further information and registration details will follow in coming months. 

1st International Caparica Congress on Leishmaniasis
October 29-31, Caparica, Portugal
This conference intends to gather researchers working in areas related to Leishmaniasis, from treatment to prevention. In fact, as leishmaniasis is slowly but constantly, increasing worldwide, this conference is addressed to show the latest research trends in this area. The idea is to push forward the battle against this persistent disease. 

Vector-Borne Diseases in the UK - Biennial Meeting, 2018
December 3-4, Norwich, UK
This meeting will be the fourth we have held on this topic, with previous meetings in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and like before we will bring together members of the major UK research groups who have an interest in vectors or vector-borne diseases which could be a threat to the UK; groups with wider but related areas of interest; members of key UK Government Departments and their Agencies; and representatives of European organisations with an interest in this topic. 

Women Deliver 2019 Conference 
June 3-6, 2019, Vancouver, Canada
The Women Deliver 2019 Conference – the world’s largest gathering on the health, rights, and wellbeing of women and girls – will serve as a fueling station for advocates working to achieve a more gender equal world. In the summer of 2019, over 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists will flock to Vancouver with dreams of accelerating progress girls and women everywhere.