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'LeDoxy' Clinical Trial Launched in India, Mali, and Sri Lanka & 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. 

 The clinical LeDoxy trial described here is testing whether the drug, doxycycline, could provide relief for those living with lymphedema, who have been neglected in the fight itself.


Lymphatic filariasis

Alleviating Suffering from Filarial Lymphedema: The LeDoxy Clinical Trial Launches in India, Mali, and Sri Lanka

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
On World Lymphedema Day, it is important to remember that millions of people worldwide suffer from preventable lymphedema, caused by a parasitic infection called lymphatic filariasis. The clinical trial described here is an effort to provide relief for those who have been left behind in the fight against this neglected tropical disease.


R&D Portfolio Update February 2019: DNDi Filarial diseases programme

DNDi aims to deliver a new, oral, short-course macrofilaricide treatment for river blindness, to offer patients a cure that kills adult worms and allows for treatment in regions co-endemic for Loa loa. DNDi now has a diverse portfolio of potential macrofilaricides with different modes of action.

Kifafa: The mystery of East Africa's 'nodding disease'

Zaria Gorvett
BBC Future
It might sound surprising that the search for nodding syndrome is at such an early stage. But for years, scientists have been following a false lead. It started with an outbreak of nodding syndrome in South Sudan in 2002, and the discovery that patients tended to be more heavily infested with two different kinds of parasitic worms. One type, Onchocerca volvulus, became the focus of intense efforts to prove a link.


Effect of Schistosoma mansoni infection and its treatment on antibody responses to measles catch-up immunisation. . .

Robert Tweyongyere et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We conducted a study on the Entebbe peninsula in Lake Victoria to examine the effects of infection with S. mansoni parasites on responses to childhood measles catch-up immunisation, and the effect of treating the parasites on the responses. . . The levels of antibodies against measles were lower among the S mansoni-infected children than the uninfected children, and treatment improved this situation. This implies that S. mansoni infection is associated with reduced measles immunisation responses and that treatment improves the response.

Knowledge, attitudes and practices with regard to schistosomiasis prevention and control

Christian Rassi et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In 2014/15, Malaria Consortium implemented a Community Dialogue intervention in four districts of Nampula province, Mozambique, to improve knowledge, attitudes and practices with regard to schistosomiasis prevention and control. To assess the effectiveness of the approach, two household surveys were conducted. Results show that before the intervention, knowledge of how schistosomiasis is acquired, transmitted, prevented and treated was low. After the intervention, knowledge and self-reported adoption of positive behaviours had improved substantially, demonstrating that Community Dialogue can play a central role in strengthening disease prevention and control.

Asian Schistosomiasis: Current Status and Prospects for Control Leading to Elimination

Catherine A. Gordon et al.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
With regard to Asian schistosomiasis, most of the published research has focused on S. japonicum with comparatively little attention paid to S. mekongi and even less focus on S. malayensis. In this review, we examine the three Asian schistosomes and their current status in their endemic countries: Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Thailand (S. mekongi); Malaysia (S. malayensis); and Indonesia, People’s Republic of China, and the Philippines (S. japonicum). Multi-component, intersectoral, and integrated control approaches provide a promising path forward for the elimination of schistosomiasis in Asia.

New data platform supports global control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases

Robert Terry
Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH) affect more than a billion of the world’s poorest people. Control of these neglected tropical diseases requires a better understanding of the efficacy of available treatments to improve intervention strategies. A new data platform is filling such knowledge gaps and welcomes further contributions from researchers.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Effect of a sanitation intervention on soil-transmitted helminth prevalence and concentration in household soil. . .

Lauren Steinbaum et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This study was nested within a large randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of individual and combined water, handwashing, and sanitation interventions on child health in western Kenya. The sanitation intervention included upgrading pit latrines by installing a plastic slab, as well as delivery and promotion of child safe feces management tools. The sanitation intervention did not reduce [soil-transmitted helminth, or] STH contamination in household soil, suggesting households with access to improved sanitation may still be exposed to STH in the household environment.

Social media and control of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in Bhutan

Sangay Thinley, Kencho Namgyal and Antonio Montresor
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In January 2012, Mr. Kencho Namgyal, former WASH Officer with UNICEF Bhutan Country Office, initiated the Facebook group “Health Nutrition and WinS (WASH in Schools)–Bhutan” as an informal platform to exchange knowledge among personnel involved in school health activities, such as school health coordinators, teachers, school principals, administrators, civil servants, employees of nongovernmental organizations, international intergovernmental organizations, and United Nations agencies. . . A recent STH survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) showed a dramatic reduction in [soil-transmitted helminthiasis, or] STH prevalence in all areas of the country]; it is, however, difficult to distinguish the relative contribution of the different components of the programme (preventive chemotherapy, improvements of sanitation standards, and education for behavioral changes).


Factors shaping implementation of the SAFE strategy for trachoma using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research...

Patricia Maritim et al.
Global Health Action
While evaluations on the implementation of the SAFE strategy have been done, systematic reviews on the factors that have shaped implementation are lacking. This review sought to identify these factors. We searched PUBMED, Google Scholar, CINAHL and Cochrane Collaboration to identify studies that had implemented SAFE interventions. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) guided development of the data extraction guide and data analysis. We found CFIR to be a robust framework capable of identifying different implementation determinants in low resource settings. However, there is a need for more research on the organisational, provider and implementation process related factors for trachoma as most studies focused on the outer setting.


Social Innovation: Engaging communities in improving their own health

Beatrice Halpaap and John C. Reeder
Ethiopian Medical Journal
One billion people around the world still lack access to basic healthcare services, despite the development of novel technologies. Providing quality health care and getting medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to those who need them most is a great challenge. Most health systems in low- and middle-income countries fail to reach all of their populations, in particular the most marginalized and those in greatest need remain neglected. . . Attaining universal health coverage cannot rely only on the formal health sector. Community engaged- innovation will be vital in attaining this ambitious goal.


Should We Kill Off Disease-Causing Pests? Not So Fast

Richard Conniff
Scientific American
Why not just finish the job and end sleeping sickness by eradicating the tsetse (pronounced TET-see) fly from the entire African continent? This is the stated goal of the African Union’s Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign. But another new study, published in December in BioScience, calls for reexamining that approach. “The important ethical question remains: Is tsetse fly elimination morally appropriate?” entomologist Jérémy Bouyer and his co-authors wrote. The study lays out a protocol for properly considering a question that is less simple and more momentous than it seems at first glance, says Bouyer, who spent seven years in tsetse control in Senegal and now works on pest-control programs for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

A multi-country study of the economic burden of dengue fever based on patient-specific field surveys. . .

Jung-Seok Lee et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The cost of illness for dengue fever is significant in the three countries. In particular, the current study sheds light on the potential economic burden of the disease in Burkina Faso and Kenya where existing evidence is sparse in the context of dengue fever, and underscores the need to achieve Universal Health Coverage. Given the availability of the current (CYD-TDV) and second-generation dengue vaccines in the near future, our study outcomes can be used to guide decision makers in setting health policy priorities.

Upcoming Events 

World Lymphedema Day
March 6, 2019
World Lyphedema Day is an annual advocate-driven celebration. This is our opportunity to educate the world about the extent of this global "lymphedemic." This includes lymphatic diseases (LD), primary and secondary lymphedema (LE), lipedema (LI), lymphatic filariasis (LF), lymphatic malformations (LM), and the full lymphatic continuum (LC) of diseases impacted by the lymphatic system.

International Women's Day
March 8, 2019
International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

World Water Day 
March 22, 2019
Marginalized groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need. This World Water Day, 22nd March, is about tackling the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind.

22nd Meeting of the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020 (GET2020)
April 9-11, 2019, Maputo, Mozambique 
The purpose is to monitor progress towards elimination of trachoma at global level, exchange information and experience on SAFE (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, environmental improvement) strategy implementation, review partnership opportunities at global, regional and national levels, and discuss obstacles and barriers to the achievements of the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem by 2020.

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.

WHO AFRO NTD Biennial Programme Managers Meeting
July 15-19, 2019, Location TBA
Please hold the week of July 15, 2019 as the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa will be holding its Biennial NTD Programme Managers Meeting. This meeting will focus on Preventive Chemotherapy and Case Management diseases. We will be in touch soon to confirm the location and share all relevant documents.

11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
September 16-20, 2019, 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.

The 10th NTD NGO Network (NNN) Conference
September 17-19, 2019, 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, 2019, 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.

IAPB Council of Members 2019
October 5-8, 2019, Nairobi, Kenya
The next Council of Members will be held 5-8 October 2019 in Nairobi, alongside local partners Sightsavers.

ASTMH 68th Annual Meeting
November 20-24, 2019, 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, 2019, 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.