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Kuwait Pledges to End Marginalized Diseases in Africa, 360° Videos Demonstrate Life with LF & 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.

 “Out of Sight” is a series of 360-degree films telling the stories of the victims and health workers battling neglected tropical diseases in some of the most remote and underdeveloped regions of Nigeria and Congo. The series explores both the challenges of and progress toward eliminating three of those diseases. This film, the first of three, takes place in Nigeria with lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis. This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause the extreme swelling of body parts. Globally, a billion people live in areas that put them at risk of infection. Nigeria is one of the countries hardest hit by this disease.

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic pathology in asymptomatic & symptomatic children with Wuchereria bancrofti infection in children from Odisha, India...

Shantanu K. Kar et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Once interruption of transmission of lymphatic filariasis is achieved, morbidity prevention and management becomes more important. A study in Brugia malayi filariasis from India has shown sub-clinical lymphatic pathology with potential reversibility. We studied a Wuchereria bancrofti infected population, the major contributor to LF globally.

Translating Research into Reality: Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis from Haiti

Patrick J. Lammie et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Lymphatic filariasis research in Haiti involved many partners and was directly linked to the development of the national elimination program and to the success achieved to date. Ongoing research efforts involving many partners will continue to be important in resolving the challenges faced by the program today in its final efforts to achieve elimination.

Lymphatic filariasis transmission on Mafia Islands, Tanzania: Evidence from xenomonitoring in mosquito vectors

Yahya A. Derua et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The study has shown that Cx. quinquefasciatus is the dominant mosquito on Mafia Islands. By using mosquito infectivity as proxy to human infection, the study indicates that W. bancrofti transmission is still ongoing on Mafia Islands after more than a decade of control activities based on MDA.

Stopping filariasis dead in its tracks

Vishani Ragobeer
The Guyana Chronicle
In Guyana, according to the Coordinator of the Neglected Infectious Disease Programme and the National Coordinator for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis Campaign, Dr. Fabu Moses, filaria is caused by the bancrofti worm and is transmitted from human to human by the culex mosquito.

Member of Parliament calls for overhaul of filaria tablet distribution in schools

The Guyana Times
Teacher and Member of Parliament (MP) Africo Selman is calling for changes regarding the implementation of tablet distribution under the filariasis prevention programme. The Public Health Ministry collaborated with the Education Ministry on a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign to provide preventative filariasis medication to persons living in endemic areas.

Prof Rahmah's Brugia Rapid Wins Special Award At Pecipta'17

Universiti Sains Malaysia
Director Professor Rahmah Noordin for receiving the Special Award and a Gold Medal at this year’s International Conference and Exposition on Inventions by Institutions Of Higher Learning (Pecipta 2017) on 9th October 2017. rof. Rahmah was awarded for her innovation – Brugia Rapid Test for Lymphatic Filariasis. The Brugia Rapid is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis. The Brugia Rapid point-of-care cassette test (BRT) manufactured by Reszon Diagnostics is recommended for use during TAS to detect IgG4 antibody against Brugia spp. in human blood samples.

Vector Control, Rehab Services team-up to cater to filaria patients

Kaieteur News
Moves are apace to have the Vector Control Services Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] and the Rehabilitation Services of the Ministry of Public Health, help address conditions that could debilitate patients inflicted with lymphatic filariasis [filaria].

Lymphatic filariasis in Nigeria: The battle against the disfiguring parasitic disease

Robert Herriman
Outbreak News Today
Nigeria has over 120 million people at risk nationwide for the mosquito borne parasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis. The most populous country in Africa follows only India as far as endemicity. Last week, the Carter Center announced after years of work, two states, Plateau and Nasarawa, have eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem- an incredible achievement.

Tongue in cheek, no more: Bear has huge 6.5 pound swelling removed after mystery illness in Myanmar

Conor Gaffey
It’s not clear what caused the swelling in the first place. After an examination, they determined that it may have resulted from elephantiasis—a symptom of a mosquito-borne disease, called lymphatic filariasis, which results in abnormal enlargement of body parts.


Small Grants, Big Impact: Regina Ejemot-Nwadiaro, Cross River State, Nigeria

MacKenzie Bates
Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
In May 2017, the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) announced the first-ever grantees of the African Researchers' Small Grants program. In this Q&A, Dr. Ejemot-Nwadiaro describes her work and her motivations to increase the priority of onchocerciasis control in her home country.

Public Health: Cameroon on the offensive to prevent River Blindness

Nyibeche Momoh Dero
Cameroon Radio Television
It is the world’s second leading infectious cause of blindness. There is currently no official data on the situation in Cameroon but it is estimated that approximately 1% of the population is affected (Sight Savers International)...Cameroon has however embarked on an innovative strategy based on semi-annual ivermectin treatment to contain the infection.

Dr. Thomas Unnasch appointed chair of WHO committee

Anna Mayor
USF College of Public Health News
The USF College of Public Health’s Dr. Thomas Unnasch, distinguished university health professor, has been appointed chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Onchocerciasis Technical Advisory Sub-Committee. Unnasch is chair of the Department of Global Health and interim chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. The role of the sub-committee is to review and report to the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD-STAG) Global Working Group for Monitoring and Evaluation on technical issues relating to the elimination of river blindness in Africa.


Should we be treating animal schistosomiasis in Africa? The need for a One Health economic evaluation of schistosomiasis...

Charlotte M Gower, Louise Vince and Joanne P Webster
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
A One Health economic perspective allows informed decisions to be made regarding control priorities and/or implementation strategies for infectious diseases. Schistosomiasis is a major and highly resilient disease of both humans and livestock. The zoonotic component of transmission in sub-Saharan Africa appears to be more significant than previously assumed, and may thereby affect the recently revised WHO vision to eliminate schistosomiasis as a public health problem by 2025.

Parasitic disease linked to HIV infection

Timothy Malcolm
Cornell Chronicle
Women diagnosed with an infectious parasitic disease prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa are at increased risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and both men and women who had this parasitic disease developed higher HIV viral loads after becoming HIV-infected, according to a study from Weill Cornell Medicine investigators.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Soil-Transmitted Helminths in Tropical Australia and Asia

Catherine A. Gordon et al.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
While STH infections are generally low in Australia, they are still endemic and of significant health importance in remote Aboriginal communities, particularly S. stercoralis, which can be fatal in immunocompromised people...The Asia-Pacific area has particularly high endemicity for STH and, with so much movement between Asia-Pacific and Australia, better understanding and treatment of STH infections are key from a public health perspective.

Government to roll out massive immunization campaign

Thandeka Moyo
The Chronicle (Zimbabwe)
The Bulawayo City Council will roll out a mass drug administration programme next week targeting both children and adults as part of efforts to fight neglected tropical diseases.


From clean hands to clean faces: Working with the WASH sector to end trachoma

Leah Wohlgemuth
The Global Handwashing Partnership
To ensure the long-term success of trachoma elimination efforts, a trachoma initiative funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and implemented by the International Coalition for Trachoma Control, is working with established water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) partners to integrate hygiene and facial cleanliness messages into existing programs to educate communities about the connection between hygiene, trachoma, and good health.

Trachoma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Results of 46 Baseline Prevalence Surveys Conducted with the Global...

Janvier Kilangalanga et al.
Ophthalmic Epedimiology
Trachoma is a public health problem in 39 of 46 Health Zones surveyed. To meet elimination targets, 37 Health Zones require expanded trichiasis surgery services while 30 health zones require antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement interventions.

NGO partners pupils in trachoma fight

Ayami Mkwanda
The Nation
Amref Health Africa says pupils can be good agents in trachoma fight who can influence teachers and parents to practise proper sanitation to prevent the spread of the disease. Amref Mangochi district project assistant Petros Kamanga observed that trachoma remains high in the country, especially in the district due to poor hygiene practices.

VIDEO: ITI at MDA Launch in Amudat District, Uganda

International Trachoma Initiative
The director of ITI, Dr. Paul Emerson, speaking at a Mass Drug Administration or MDA Launch in the Amudat District of Uganda. Emerson says the disease that it controls is almost gone from this area.


Protection of the house against Chagas disease, dengue, leishmaniasis, and lymphatic filariasis: a systematic review

Dr. Olaf Horstick, PhD & Dr. Silvia Runge-Ranzinger
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
In light of the recent Zika virus outbreak, vector control has received renewed interest. However, which interventions are efficacious and community effective and how to best deliver them remains unclear. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we did a systematic review to assess evidence for applied vector control interventions providing protection against Chagas disease, dengue, leishmaniasis, and lymphatic filariasis at the household level.

Opinion: Eliminating the need for foreign assistance, one country at a time

Paul Weisenfeld
Eliminating trachoma in Laos and Cambodia shows that fundamentally solving — not just reducing — complex challenges through development assistance is possible. Several other countries, such as Nepal and Vietnam, are on the road to eliminating NTDs. We have also seen incredible progress in Mali and Cameroon.

New combination therapy of registered re-purposed drugs dramatically shortens anti-Wolbachia therapy for LF & Oncho...

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Researchers from LSTM’s Research Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics (RCDD) have found a way of significantly reducing the treatment required for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis from several weeks to seven days. By targeting Wolbachia, a bacterial symbiont that the filarial parasites need to live, the team has discovered a drug synergy that enables effective treatment over a shorter time.

Tailoring Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Targets for Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis and Schistosomiasis Control

Suzy J. Campbell et al.
Trends in Parasitology
Soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis cannot be controlled without primary prevention strategies. The development of appropriate WASH targets and indicators is an important component of the neglected tropical disease (NTD) agenda.

KFAED's chief reiterates Kuwait's efforts to fight diseases in Africa

Salim Al-Muzn
Kuwait News Agency
Kuwait's support to fighting disease in Africa, through Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), embodies the country's vision for achieving sustainable development and dignified living conditions for people in the continent.

How India can help eliminate neglected diseases

Dr. Suman Rijal
Health Analytics India
The neglected tropical diseases are fighting for attention despite the fact that these diseases are major chronic infectious diseases that affect the world’s poorest population. In an interview to Health Analytics India, Dr Suman Rijal, Director of Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (India) spoke about challenges of eliminating the diseases, role of tools and data and why are there little investments in the area of neglected tropical diseases.

We can no longer neglect health worker skills and capacity if we are to achieve sustainable progress against NTDs

Giuseppina Ortu
On Health
In the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) there has been remarkable progress in recent years. However, with many rural communities unable to routinely diagnose and report NTDs there remains an urgent need to build knowledge among health workers and improve capacity to cope with these diseases.

Zimbabwe: Neglected Tropical Diseases On Spotlight

Faith Zvorufura
Global Shapers Community Harare hub in partnership with Higherlife Foundation will on Thursday 26th of October 2017 launch a Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Application aimed at driving dialogue action and change towards preventing and ending Neglected Tropical Diseases in Zimbabwe.

‘Out Of Sight’: 360-Degree Film Series On Diseases The World Ignores

Paul Josephson
The Huffington Post
“Out of Sight” is a series of 360-degree films telling the stories of the victims and health workers battling neglected tropical diseases in some of the most remote and underdeveloped regions of Nigeria and Congo. The series explores both the challenges of and progress toward eliminating three of those diseases.


Walking with a Giant

Bill Gates
At 6 feet 7 inches, Bill (Foege) is certainly tall in stature. But he stands even taller in reputation. His intelligence, leadership, and humility over the last six decades have proven invaluable in the fight against disease and poverty. In the field of global health, he is a giant.

One donor's support to improving health in Africa

Alexandra Grainger
Imperial College London
Bill and Melinda Gates, through their foundation, are a shining example, having invested billions of dollars, since 2000, helping the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a number of non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) to improve the health of hundreds of millions of children and adults across Africa and other developing countries.

Research America announces 2018 Advocacy Awards Honorees

Suzanne Ffolkes
Research America
Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine will receive the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership for his important research in neglected tropical disease (NTD) and vaccine development.

Copper Age skeleton containing world's oldest case of leprosy is discovered in Hungary

Karen Gilchrist
The Daily Mail
The human remains, which feature a rare set of bone lesions thought to indicate the possible presence of leprosy, were found among 400 historical artefacts during an archaeological dig near the town of Abony-Turjányos dűlő, central Hungary.

$420,000 Grant Funds Study on What Makes Humans Susceptible to Zika

Rachael Paida
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Haoquan Wu, Ph.D., associate professor in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM), has received a two-year, $420,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to study the mosquito-borne virus Zika.

Confronting the Emerging Threat to Public Health in Northern Australia of Neglected Indigenous Arboviruses

Narayan Gyawali and Andrew W. Taylor-Robinson
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases
In excess of 75 arboviruses have been identified in Australia, some of which are now well established as causative agents of debilitating diseases. These include Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis virus, each of which may be detected by both antibody-based recognition and molecular typing.

Overcoming obstacles to polio eradication in Pakistan

Alina A. Visram
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Polio cases spiraled across the country and in 2014 we reported over 300 cases of the wild poliovirus. In the years that followed, we worked with unwavering diligence and commitment in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan to restrict polio transmission. Today, we have only five cases of polio stemming from the wild virus and only 11 globally, as of the end of September.

Integrated community case management by drug sellers influences appropriate treatment of patricide febrile illness in South...

Freddy Eric Kitutu et al.
Malaria Journal
The integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) intervention of paediatric febrile illnesses though adopted by Uganda’s Ministry of Health to be implemented by community health workers, has not addressed the inaccess to life-saving medicines and diagnostics.

'Antelope perfume' keeps flies away from cows

Science Daily
In Africa, tsetse flies transfer the sleeping sickness also to cattle. This leads to huge losses in milk, meat and manpower. The damage in Africa is estimated to be about 4.6 billion US dollars each year. Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister from the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn and his colleagues from Kenya and the UK have developed an innovative way of preventing the disease.

Upcoming Events 

COR-NTD Meeting 2017
November 3-4, Baltimore, MD
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases
The goal of the COR-NTD meeting is to strengthen the community of researchers, program implementers and their supporters to address knowledge gaps in a coordinated way, thus informing the agenda of future research and facilitating the global efforts of the World Health Organization and endemic countries to overcome NTDs. [This event is closed.]

ASTMH 66th Annual Meeting
November 5-9, Baltimore, Maryland
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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. 

Swedish-Ethiopian Course in Tropical Infections
November 13, 2017 - February 11, 2018, Stockholm, Sweden
Karolinska University Hospital
This is a course in clinical tropical medicine and HIV for clinicians. The overall aim is to provide general knowledge about infectious diseases which require or thrive in a warm climate and / or are important causes of morbidity and mortality in low-income countries. The focus is on diagnosis and treatment both in situations with scarce resources and in more affluent countries. The field visit to Ethiopia gives the participants a unique experience of the health system and infectious disease panorama in a developing country.

Reaching The Last Mile
November 15, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Reaching The Last Mile is a milestone convening of global health leaders focused on accelerating the elimination of deadly infectious diseases, such as polio and malaria, and preventable NTDs, such as Guinea-worm disease and River Blindness.The Forum will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and is driven from His Highness’ conviction that no human should die from a preventable disease, and that investment in health is crucial to global development.

ISNTD Water 2017
November 23, London, UK 
Natural History Museum
ISNTD Water provides the multidisciplinary platform and network for the research, charity and business sectors to partner and collaborate to address diseases and conditions of poverty worldwide.

World Vaccine & Immunotherapy Congress West Coast
November 30 - December 1, San Diego, CA
Following on from the highly successful World Vaccine Congress series in Washington DC and Europe for the past 18 years, the San Diego event will offer learning and business development opportunities taking advantage of the rich biotech and funding environment that the west coast offers.

Eradicate Malaria World Congress 2018
February 18, 2018, 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.

World Vaccine Washington
April 3-5, 2018, Washington, DC
Make sure you are at the forefront of the vaccines industry. No matter where your interest lies, we have content, networking and potential partners for you. By bringing eight events together under one roof, you get to choose the sessions which are the most applicable to help your business plan for the future of vaccine research, development and manufacture.

Multilateral Initiative on Malaria 
April 15-18, 2018, Dakar, Senegal
The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) was established in 1997 with a mission to strengthen and sustain through collaborative research and training, the capacity of malaria-endemic countries in Africa to carry out research that is required to develop and improve tools for malaria control and to strengthen the research-control interphase.