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January 30 Named World NTD 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. 

 

30 January is now officially World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

Photo Credit: Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases

Lymphatic filariasis

Infrared thermal imaging as a new non-invasive point of care tool for assessing [filarial] lymphedema

Winona Ryder
Florida News Times (United States)
Researchers at the Neglected Tropical Diseases Center (CNTD) at LSTM use infrared thermal imaging cameras to detect asymptomatic cases and predict the progression of lymphatic filariasis in Bangladesh. Papers published in Clinical Medical Journal Shows the results of studies examining the use of infrared Thermal image Camera as a new non-invasive point of care tool for the lower extremities of lymphatic filariasis Lymphedema.

Onchocerciasis

The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Sleeping Sickness, Onchocerciasis and Unintended Consequences in Ghana, 1930–60

David Bannister
Cambridge University Press
Intended to control human and animal sleeping sickness and to meet the economic preferences of the colony's central administration, this campaign had the effect of greatly increasing the exposure of northern communities to another disease, onchocerciasis, causing widespread blindness and contributing to a serious public health crisis in the early independence era.

Schistosomiasis

Quality of Life Assessment Among Patients Living With Hepatosplenic Schistosomiasis and Schistosomal Myeloradiculopathy

Silvana Júnia Roriz et al.
Frontiers in Medicine
In conclusion, HS [Hepatosplenic Schistosomiasis] and SMR [Schistosomal Myeloradiculopathy] significantly impact the overall quality of life of the affected individuals, reinforcing the importance of efforts to control and eradicate this debilitating disease and suggesting that multidisciplinary clinical management of schistosomiasis patients would be more appropriate and could potentially improve patient's quality of life.

Interleukin-13 rs1800925/-1112C/T promoter single nucleotide polymorphism variant linked to anti-schistosomiasis in adult males

Emilia T. Choto,Takafira Mduluza and Moses J. Chimbari
PLOS One
IL-13 may act as an immunosuppressive inflammatory cytokine that may promote carcinogenesis and also may offer protection against schistosomiasis thereby reducing risk of schistosome infections. Our study evaluated the frequency of the IL-13 rs1800925/-1112 C/ T promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among schistosomiasis infected individuals and assessed the association of the variants on IL-13 cytokine levels.

IVI to design adaptive Phase Ib/IIa trial for schistosomiasis vaccine

Clinical Trials Arena
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to design an adaptive protocol for a Phase Ib/IIa clinical trial of a schistosomiasis vaccine candidate, SchistoShield (Sm-p80 adjuvanted in GLA-SE).

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

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.

Comparison of the egg recovery rates and limit of detection for soil-transmitted helminths using the Kato-Katz thick smear...

Patsy A. Zendejas-Heredi, Vito Colella, Sze Fui Hii and Rebecca J. Traub
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This study compares the diagnostic parameters in terms of [limits of detection] LOD and [egg-recovery-rates] ERRs of [soil transmitted helminths] STHs for the [Kato-Katz] KK, [faecal floatation] FF and [quantitative polymerase chain reaction] qPCR. These results indicate that the diagnostic performance of qPCR assays should be considered by control programs in the phase that aims to seek confirmation of transmission break and cessation of preventive chemotherapy in low-transmission settings, in line with the control targets of the WHO neglected tropical diseases 2030 Roadmap.

Limitations of PCR detection of filarial DNA in human stools from subjects non-infected with soil-transmitted helminths

Maxime P. M. Doret et al.
Parasite
The aim of this study was to demonstrate proof-of-concept of a non-invasive molecular diagnosis technique for human filariasis by targeting fragments of 12S rDNA, Cox1, ITS1 and LL20-15kDa ladder antigen-gene by conventional PCR in DNA extracted from stool samples of 52 people infected with Mansonella perstans and/or Loa loa.

Strongyloides‐Specific IgE Phage cDNA Clones and Development of a Novel ELISA for Strongyloidiasis

Hussain Ahmad et al.
Diagnostics
In conclusion, this study has identified rA133 as a novel recombinant protein with potential diagnostic value, and that the IgE-ELISA incorporating this protein may be useful for patient diagnosis and epidemiological studies.

Call for Submissions: Pathogens' Special Issue on Helminths

Rahul Tyagi and Mostafa Elfawal
Pathogens
Pathogens is preparing to publish a Special Issue devoted to “Helminths, Anthelmintics and Anthelmintic Resistance”. Our principal aim is to publish the most innovative, novel results and insights obtained by outstanding research teams working in this field. We also welcome useful review articles summarizing the field, or recent insights related to a relevant theme. Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Trachoma

Recent trachoma gains give hope for worldwide eradication

Rebecca Root
Devex
“It all works together,” said Robert Miyashiro​, program officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation — which has been supporting The Carter Center for over 20 years in its work controlling trachoma in Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, South Sudan, and Sudan. “There seems to be a synergistic effect in the communities where uptake of antibiotics is enhanced by good quality health education, community participation, and sanitation.”

Prevalence of trachoma and associated factors in the rural area of the department of Vaupés, Colombia

Hollman Alfonso Miller et al.
PLOS One
Trachoma is a public health problem in Vaupés that requires the implementation of the SAFE strategy (S = Surgery, A = Antibiotics, F = Face Washing, E = Environment) in the Eastern and Western districts, for at least 3 consecutive years, in accordance with WHO recommendations.

To improve Indigenous Health, we must improve indigenous housing

Hugh Taylor AC, Emma Stanford and Mitchell D Anjou
The University of Melbourne
Although some good progress has been made, the process has stalled for lack of safe and functional housing. Inadequate housing has a critical impact on health, including Indigenous health.

Trachoma Elimination eBulletin

The University of Melbourne
Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the trachoma elimination eBulletin, including articles on "Trachoma Funding Extended," "Milpa's Six Steps to Stop Germs - Unified messaging for best hygiene practices in everyday language," and more.

Thousands of people in Africa get sight-saving surgery

Sightsavers
In three years, Sightsavers’ Accelerate programme has successfully supported governments in Africa to provide eye surgery for 37,000 people.

Cross-cutting

30 January is now officially World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

Thoko Pooley
Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
Today, the World Health Organization’s World Health Assembly (WHA74) officially endorsed 30 January as World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day. World days are an important way to bring increased attention, increase political and public will, and mobilise action to tackle global issues. As such, this is an important moment for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Update on Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases

The Government of Rwanda
The Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) - which was scheduled to take place on June 24th 2021 alongside the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) - has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This comes as no surprise, especially given the current crisis in India, but is disappointing to the people of Rwanda who have worked so hard and have had to cancel CHOGM twice. We will let you know as soon as possible once new dates have been communicated. Uniting to Combat NTDs’ Board will discuss the implications of this postponement during their next meeting on the 20th of May. We will come back to you with an update following that meeting. This means we will have more time on the consultation process for the Kigali Declaration which some of you are already supporting with its development. We will come back with a revised timetable, once we have an indication from the board and the Government of Rwanda on the endorsement process.

Other

PLOS Global Public Health, a new Open Access journal for diverse research addressing global public health challenges ...

PLOS Global Public Health
PLOS Global Public Health is a global forum for public health research that reaches across disciplines and regional boundaries to address some of the biggest health challenges and inequities facing our society today.­­ We will work alongside researchers to drive diversity at all levels—editors, editorial boards, peer reviewers and authors—to broaden the range of perspectives we learn from to advance the health of all humankind. We empower researchers to make work of the highest methodological and ethical rigor openly available to the researchers, policy experts, clinicians and patients who depend on it.

Control programs for strongyloidiasis in areas of high endemicity: an economic analysis of different approaches

Dora Buonfrate, Lorenzo Zammarchi, Zeno Bisoffi, Antonio Montresor and Sara Boccalini
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
This analysis permits to estimate the impact of two PC strategies for the control of strongyloidiasis in terms of costs and adverted infections/deaths. This could represent a basis on which each endemic country can evaluate which strategy can be implemented, based on available funds and national health priorities.

African based researchers’ output on models for the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases and public health interventions

Olatunji O. Adetokunboh, Zinhle E. Mthombothi, Emanuel M. Dominic, Sylvie Djomba-Njankou and Juliet R. C. Pulliam
PLOS One
Research productivity in applied epidemiological modelling studies of infectious diseases may have increased, but there remains an under-representation of African researchers as leading authors. The study findings indicate a need for the development of research capacity through supporting existing institutions in Africa and promoting research funding that will address local health priorities.

Establishment of rapid diagnostic method to detect rifampicin resistance

Sasakawa Leprosy Hansen's Disease Initiative
Sasakawa Health Foundation is supporting research being conducted by Koichi Suzuki, professor of medical technology at Teikyo University, and Kei Mikita, assistant professor of infectious disease medicine at Keio University School of Medicine, which aims to develop a rapid diagnostic method for detecting rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium leprae that can be easily performed anywhere without the need to transport specimens to a specialized laboratory and that can provide results on site by the following morning.

New website for Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative

Sasakawa Leprosy Hansen's Disease Initiative
The Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative has launched a new English language website: https://sasakawaleprosyinitiative.org/

Parasites and Vectors: the original renegades

Jennifer K. Peterson
BugBitten
Triatomine bugs and their trypanosomes are popping up in New Orleans, a beloved mecca of food, arts, and music- reminding us that parasites and their vectors don’t play by our rules.

Weekly epidemiological record: Dracunculiasis eradication: global surveillance summary, 2020

World Health Organization
In accordance with the recommendations of the International Commission for the Certification of Dracunculiasis Eradication (ICCDE), WHO has certified 199 countries, areas and territories (including 187 WHO Member States) as free of transmission of dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm [GW] disease). Seven countries remain to be certified: Angola, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Mali, South Sudan and Sudan.

COVID-19

Pandemic hits India's drive to tackle an ancient disease

Roli Srivastava and Saurabh Sharma
Thomson Reuters Foundation
In 2019, India introduced a new triple drug regimen that can check transmission in just three years. The new drug combination was initially rolled out in four districts, with plans to extend it to 27 this year, but officials said only one district had so far been covered. Five out of 10 health workers contacted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Uttar Pradesh said they had not been able to distribute the preventive drugs at all during the pandemic.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

Sustainability framework for action against neglected tropical diseases 2021-2030 Webinar
June 8, 2021
WHO and USAID 

Schistosomiasis Research Innovation 2021
June 8-9, 2021
Global Schistosomiasis Alliance

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

How to develop a country integrated skin-NTD strategy: identifying and filling the research gaps
Jun 14, 2021 
COR-NTD

Sustainable Supply Chain: What it means for NTDs
June 15, 2021
COR-NTD

Sharing NTD Research Data
June 17, 2021
COR-NTD

Global Health Compassion Rounds: Compassion, WASH, and Quality of Care
June 17, 2021
Focus Area for Compassion & Ethics

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

Spreading Truth Not Disease: Paradigm shift in Social Behaviour Change for NTDs
June 23, 2021
COR-NTD

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