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It's World Mosquito Day! (& 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.  

CDC World Mosquito Day Infographic

Spreading diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis, the mosquito kills more people than any other creature in the world.


Lymphatic filariasis

How One Country is Stepping up to End Lymphatic Filariasis

RTI International Development
Nineteen years ago, in Indonesia, a quiet but ambitious undertaking began — one that would affect millions of poor and vulnerable people. The country began working to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF), also known as elephantiasis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that can cause disability, pain, and disfigurement from swollen extremities. Fast forward to the present, and more than 37 million Indonesians are no longer at-risk for LF. Whole communities now will not be afflicted by the physical, economic, and social toll of this disabling disease, and Indonesia is on track to eliminate LF as a public health problem in fewer than 10 years.

Elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem from the Arab Republic of Egypt

Reda M.R. Ramzy, Hussein A.Kamal, Mohamed A. Hassan and Ayat A.Haggag
Acta Tropica
In 2000, Egypt was among the first countries to join the [World Health Organization, or] WHO global efforts by initiating a national programme to eliminate [lymphatic filariasis, or] LF as a public-health problem. . . Based on the data presented and findings discussed in this paper, the Egyptian [Ministry of Health and Population, or] MoHP prepared the LF elimination dossier for submission to the WHO-EMRO in 2017 as evidence for the successful elimination of LF as a public-health problem.

Fighting the World’s Deadliest Animal

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The meager, long-legged insect that annoys, bites, and leaves you with an itchy welt is not just a nuisance―it’s one of the world’s most deadly animals. Spreading diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis, the mosquito kills more people than any other creature in the world.

VIDEO: World Mosquito Day August 20th

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mosquito’s cause more death & disease than any other animal on the planet. Malaria, Dengue, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile Chickungunya, Kunjin Jamestown Canyon Virus, Zika, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, St Loius Encephalitis, Pogostra Disease, Ross River Virus, Lymphatic Filariasis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Murray Valley Encephalitis, Rift Valley Fever, Lacrosse Encephalitis. And the list goes on. CDC Works Worldwide to Prevent and Eliminate Deadly Diseases Spread By Mosquitoes.

VIDEO: Driven by Ambition

ASTMH Annual Meeting 2019 Blog
Dr. Wamae led Kenyan teams at KEMRI that made contributions to the DEC-Albendazole combination treatment and community-drug distribution (Com-DT) for Wuchereria bancrofti, which have informed global policies on preventive chemotherapy. Her mentees’ NTDs work at KEMRI continue to immensely contribute to global health. She recently led the national team that helped Kenya get certified by WHO as free of guinea worm disease in May 2018.


Artificial intelligence in the fight against river blindness

University of Bonn
Medical Xpress
More than 21 million people in Africa are infected with the nematode Onchocerca volvulus, the cause of river blindness. Around one in ten of those affected goes blind. Parasitologists at the University Hospital Bonn are looking for new, more effective weapons against the insidious parasite. The evaluation of the success of treatment is important. They now want to develop a method in which artificial intelligence (AI) automatically evaluates tissue samples from patients under the microscope. The aim is to reduce the time required and to establish an objective standard for analysis. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Programs Assess Progress Against River Blindness

The Carter Center
Eye of the Eagle
In 2018 The Carter Center assisted in the delivery of 50,483,272 treatments of Mectizan,® donated by Merck & Co., Inc., reaching 94 percent of the 2018 target. Most of these treatments were provided under a twice-per-year mass drug administration (MDA) strategy. The program’s cumulative treatments since 1996 have now reached 383 million. A total of 6.8 million treatments were halted after assessments were conducted in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines in nine countries.


Schistosomiasis… coming to a river near you

Cara Macfarlane
Schistosomiasis is a ‘neglected tropical disease’ caused by infection with a freshwater parasitic worm. But is it still a tropical disease? A recent article reports on the persistent establishment of schistosomiasis in Europe and parasite survival in colder climates.

Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) becomes an independent organisation

SCI Foundation
Having been founded, incubated and successfully scaled up within Imperial College London, the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) will today become its own independent charity - SCI Foundation. . . Dr Wendy E Harrison, Executive Director of SCI Foundation: “We’re extremely proud to have reached this point of independence and excited to continue with our mission to improve the health of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world, enabling them to reach their full potential. We are proof that academic research projects, when incubated in the right way, can flourish and thrive into fully-fledged and independent organisations.”

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) eggs contaminating soils in selected organic and conventional farms in the Philippines

Vachel Gay V. Paller and ShielaBabia-Abiona
Parasite Epidemiology and Control
Soils from selected organic and conventional farms in the Philippines were examined for parasite contamination. A total of 600 soil samples from twenty organic and conventional farms were collected and processed through modified sucrose floatation technique. Results revealed that 248 out of 600 (41.33%) soil samples were contaminated with parasite eggs. Parasites recovered were Ascaris spp. (39.0%), Trichuris spp. (26.0%), hookworm/strongylid (22.0%), Toxocara spp. (4.0%), Taenia spp. (3.0%), and some unidentified eggs (6.0%).


Why it’s proving hard to eliminate the eye disease trachoma by 2020

Musa Mutali
The Conversation (Australia)
Improving the health of an environment and promoting face washing are geared towards preventing the spread of the disease. Cleaner environments would mean little or no breeding space for the flies that serve as vectors. It would also mean that personal contact from infected individuals’ infected personal belongings will be minimised. Face washing is especially important in rural communities where the disease is endemic.

Trial in Africa Probes Antibiotic’s Effects on Child Mortality

Abby Olena
The Scientist
“It seems that biannual mass azithromycin distribution to preschool children—at least in Niger, we can’t really generalize to other countries at this point—reduces [gastrointestinal] pathogens, but it seems to be at the cost of increasing antibiotic resistance,” study coauthor Thuy Doan of UCSF tells The Scientist. Her group also determined that the antibiotic treatment increased the expression of genes conferring resistance to azithromycin and similar antibiotics, while the placebo treatment did not. The threat of increased antibiotic resistance means that adopting policies that recommend mass azithromycin administration would not be without risks.

Trachoma Program Review Examines 2018 Achievements, Challenges

The Carter Center
Eye of the Eagle
In 2018, The Carter Center continued its support of SAFE strategy interventions. A total of 39,156 trichiasis surgeries were conducted, approximately 14 million doses of antibiotics were distributed, and F&E interventions continued in communities and schools throughout the Center-assisted countries.


Civil Society Organisations say No to NTDs

Speak Up Africa
Business Ghana
Civil society organisations (CSOs) have joined together in Dakar, Senegal, to create Africa’s first civil society network for Neglected Tropical Diseases – the Civil Society Says No to NTDs Coalition. This coalition will provide a network for CSOs to consult and collaborate to maximise their efforts in fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases, particularly around their aim of increasing sustainable funding for NTD control programs.

World Health Organisation’s New Effort Can Help End Neglected Tropical Diseases

Ifeanyi Nsofor
Inter Press Service
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched global consultations for a new Roadmap on how to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The roadmap would help achieve universal health coverage by 2030, address health emergencies and promote healthier populations. This intervention is unprecedented because it could begin to reverse the neglect and inequities that the 17 main NTDs bring. Many NTDs are debilitating and reduce the quality of life of and dehumanize the infected, yet most are preventable and treatable.

Health remains key challenge in India's development: Ram Nath Kovind

Economic Times (India)
President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said health remains a key challenge in India's development, but the Centre was committed to tackle it through its various programmes. He said lack of access to health services, malnutrition and neglected tropical diseases put severe constraints on the country.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: African Researchers’ Small Grants Program (SGP III)

NTD Support Center
The African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK aid from the UK government, through the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), is seeking proposals for both operational and social science research on ‘’Emerging Challenges facing NTD program implementation in Africa.’’ This third edition of the Small Grants Program (SGP III) is to support African researchers in both early and mid/late career to undertake operational research aligned with the goals established in the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases.


UN team to help tackle Aedes mosquito

Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
In the wake of dengue outbreak in Bangladesh, a UN team is expected to arrive in Dhaka to carry out a study for the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads viruses such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. . . It involves the mass-rearing and sterilization, using radiation, of a target pest, followed by the systematic area-wide release of the sterile males by air over defined areas, where they mate with wild females resulting in no offspring and a declining pest population.

Opinion: Dengue and climate – how close a relationship?

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
The climate point? “Global travel and trade, unplanned urbanization and environmental challenges such as climate change,” says the World Health Organization, “can impact on pathogen transmission, making the transmission season longer or more intense or causing diseases to emerge in countries where they were previously unknown.” What the three diseases we began with have in common, along with dengue fever, is that they are all transmitted by one type or another of mosquito; and mosquitoes, like most creatures, including people, are choosy about their habitats, preferring precisely the sort of conditions the current monsoon in Asia is now generating.

VIDEO: Interview with Amar Timalsina, President of IDEA Nepal

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
We sat down with Amar Timalsina, president of IDEA Nepal, during July's Nepal Mission to talk about his personal experiences with discrimination and stigma as a person impacted by leprosy, and his work for inclusion and dignity restoration among persons impacted in Nepal.

All about antivenom

Vaishali R. Venkat
The Hindu (India)
Researchers are trying to end snakebite deaths in South Asia. But the lack of research, funding, data, and even the lack of prioritisation by governments are major challenges, finds a recent paper by Ravikar Ralph, researcher with the Department of Internal Medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

Ebola Outbreak In Congo Enters Year 2. Is An End In Sight?

Jason Beaubiem
NPR Goats and Soda
On Aug. 1 of 2018, the World Health Organization confirmed four Ebola cases in the conflict-torn east Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the outbreak has slowly and steadily worsened. There have now been roughly 2,700 cases and more than 1,800 deaths from the disease, making this the second-largest Ebola outbreak after the 2014-2016 West Africa crisis, which claimed more than 11,000 lives.

A life-long career dedicated to protecting people against mosquito borne diseases

Audrey Lenhart
Our Global Voices
Many people don’t choose a career path until after college, or even after a few years of working in a particular field. But then, many are not like my former colleague, Dr. William (Bill) Brogdon. . . Over the course of his career, Bill developed new and improved ways to monitor insecticide resistance, focusing mosquitoes that transmit one of the most deadly diseases: malaria. Despite increased efforts to control diseases, we are seeing widespread increases in insecticide resistance across the world. This poses a major threat to our ability to control malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Women's global health leadership in LMICs

Ewen Liu et al.
The Lancet Global Health
A growing urgency to expand women's participation in global health leadership has provided an opportunity to reconsider long-standing institutional policies, facilitating more gender-responsive programmes and policies around the world. However, most of the new ideas about expanding women's leadership in global health have come from high-income countries. Over three-quarters of the global health organisations assessed in the Global Health 50/50 report1 have headquarters in high-income countries. The relative lack of voice from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) about women's leadership in global health is problematic because of the unique challenges, social contexts, and political forces that shape women's experiences in these regions. Innovative ideas to encourage women's leadership in health programmes within LMICs are needed.

Upcoming Events

World Water Week
August 25-30
World Water Week is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. In 2019, World Water Week will address the theme “Water for society – Including all”. In 2018, over 3,300 individuals and around 380 convening organizations from 135 countries participated in the Week.

AITHM Seminar: Prof Paul Brindley - Gene editing to explore schistosomiasis and related helminth diseases
August 26, Townsville, Australia
Paul Brindley is a research scientist at the medical school of George Washington University, Washington, DC, where he is professor of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine. The research of his lab focuses on neglected tropical diseases, using functional genomics approaches, and on carcinogenesis of helminth infection-associated cancers -- urogenital schistosomiasis-induced bladder cancer and liver fluke infection-induced bile duct cancer. Join remotely by copying and pasting this link into your web browser:

Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD)
August 28-30, Yokohama, Japan
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is an international conference led by the Japanese government and co-sponsored by the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Bank. After TICADs IV and V were successfully held in Yokohama in 2008 and 2013, TICAD will be coming back to Yokohama, and TICAD 7 will be held from August 28 through 30, 2019. TICAD is the largest international conference held in Japan. TICAD V saw more than 4,500 participants – heads of state and government, representatives of international and regional organizations, civil societies, NGOs, and the private sector.

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'

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.

IAPB Council of Members 2019
October 5-6, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
With local office support from Sightsavers, IAPB is hosting the Council in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Council will be from 7-8 October 2019, preceded by the IAPB Work Groups, Committees, and Board meetings on 5-6 October. The IAPB Council brings together world leaders in eye health and vision care to discuss issues relevant to the elimination of avoidable blindness and visual impairment globally. The meetings are also an opportunity to meet and discuss the latest in eye health with your peers.

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.