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Mass Drug Administration Resumes in Nigeria & 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.

© SightSavers


Lymphatic filariasis

The global distribution of lymphatic filariasis, 2000–18: a geospatial analysis

Elizabeth A Cromwell et al.
The Lancet Global Health
Broad declines in prevalence are observed globally, but focal areas in Africa and southeast Asia remain less likely to have attained infection prevalence thresholds proposed to achieve local elimination.

Addressing barriers of community participation and access to mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis elimination ...

Doris W. Njomo et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The implemented strategies may have contributed to increased participation and access to MDA and should be applied for improved treatment uptake. Health education on disease aetiology and importance of drug uptake in all rounds is key to program’s success.

Characterization of glycan determinants that mediate recognition of the major Wuchereria bancrofti circulating antigen ...

Marla I Hertz et al.
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Unlike other filarial glycoproteins, the Wb-CFA is relatively resistant to protease digestion by pronase and trypsin and completely resistant to the mucinase O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidase (OSGE). The protease resistance of the Wb-CFA may contribute to its consistent detection in Wb-infected sera.

Case Report: Periorbital Filariasis Caused by Brugia malayi

Poonyawee Nunthanid, Kosol Roongruanchai, Sirichit Wongkamchai and Patsharaporn T. Sarasombath
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
As far as we know, this is the first case report of B. malayi presenting with a periorbital nodule that has occurred in a disease non-endemic area of Thailand with possibly a zoonotic origin.

Nanoinsecticidal Efficacy of Ag/Ni Bimetallic Nanoparticles (BMNPs) on Lymphatic Filariasis Vector

Danbature Wilson Lamayi, Ezra Abba, Zaccheus Shehu, Muhammad Mustapha Adam
Asian Journal of Research in Infectious Diseases
The larvicidal bioassay result showed a dose-dependent mortality rates against Culex quinquefasciatus larvae which suggest they can be developed to control the insect population.

Standardisation of lymphatic filariasis microfilaraemia prevalence estimates based on different diagnostic methods ...

Natalie V. S. Vinkeles Melchers, Luc E. Coffeng, Sake J. de Vlas & Wilma A. Stolk
Parasites & Vectors
We provided transformation factors to standardise mf prevalence estimates as detected by different diagnostic techniques to mf prevalence estimates as measured by TBS20. This will facilitate the use and comparison of more datasets in meta-analyses and geographic mapping initiatives across countries and over time.

Clinical, serological and DNA testing in Bengo Province, Angola further reveals low filarial endemicity and opportunities ...

Rossely Paulo et al.
Parasite Epidemiology and Control
The prevalence of Loa loa, Onchocerca volvulus and Wuchereria bancrofti infections in an under-surveyed area of Bengo Province, Angola, was determined by surveying 22 communities with a combination of clinical, serological and DNA diagnostics.


The fast-flowing journey to river blindness elimination

Ascend West and Central Africa
In 2020, the UK aid funded Ascend West and Central Africa programme supported the Liberian Ministry of Health to conduct river blindness (onchocerciasis) vector breeding site assessments (BSAs). This was the largest survey of its kind ever conducted by the national programme in Liberia.

Uganda Registers Significant Progress Towards Elimination of River Blindness/Onchocerciasis

Dr. Aceng Jane Ruth Ocero
Ministry of Health
Uganda has stopped interventions in 2019 among 608,219 people in Nyagak, Bondo focus previously treated for river blindness (Onchocerciasis), based on the current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, bringing the country closer to achieving its goal of eliminating river blindness nationwide.

Stanford students design a device to detect early-stage river blindness

Stacey Paris McCutcheon
Stanford Scope
The team set out to develop a less-invasive, more accurate way to diagnose and monitor patients. Their breakthrough came after they read a study that used blue light to transform the capillary beds of the fingernails into a noninvasive window into the bloodstream. "In blue light, red blood cells appear dark, and white blood cells and the parasites we were trying to identify are optically clear," said MacAvoy. "So we decided to build a low-cost microscope that could detect the disease by using blue light to image the fingernail beds.

Clinical Signs of River Blindness and the Efficacy of Ivermectin Therapy in Idogun, Ondo State, Nigeria

Afolabi Olajide Joseph
Journal of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology
The study aims to evaluate the distribution of the clinical signs of river blindness and the efficacy of Ivermectin in the treatment of river blindness in Idogun. The efficacy of the drug after 6 and 12 months of treatments shows that the drug was more effective at age groups 10-50 years than the age groups 51-90 years. Ivermectin was observed to be efficacious in the treatment of the disease. However, to achieve eradication of the disease, the drug may be administered at 0.15 mg/kg twice a year.

Assessing Hypoendemic Onchocerciasis in Loa loa Endemic Areas of Southeast Nigeria

Lindsay J Rakers et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Nigeria changed its goal for onchocerciasis from control to transmission elimination. Under the control program, ivermectin mass drug administration (MDA) focused only on hyper/meso-endemic local government areas (LGAs) identified by Rapid Epidemiological Mapping of Onchocerciasis as having ≥ 20% nodule rates. Because transmission is likely in some LGAs where nodule rates are < 20%, the new elimination paradigm requires MDA expansion.

Differential susceptibility of Onchocerca volvulus microfilaria to ivermectin in two areas of contrasting history of MDA

Raphael Awah Abong et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
This study was designed with two complementary objectives: (i) to assess the susceptibility of O. volvulus microfilariae to ivermectin in two areas undergoing IVM-MDA for different lengths of time, and (ii) to document the repopulation of skin by the O. volvulus microfilariae following treatment, using 3 independent diagnostic techniques.

First report of an Onchocercidae worm infecting Psychodopygus carrerai carrerai sandfly ... in the Amazon

Andreia Fernandes Brilhante et al.
Scientific Reports
Although sandfly infection with nematodes including members of the Onchocercidae has been reported in the Old World, this is the first report of sandfly infection by a member of the Onchocercidae family in the New World, to the best of our knowledge.


Schistosomiasis – collaborate to eliminate

Dr. Wendy Harrison
The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
The implementation of this resolution requires an adaptive and comprehensive approach. Mathematical modelling shows that to reach elimination there is a need to expand the target population for PZQ treatment to reach at risk adults as well as school aged children who historically have been the focus of mass distribution programmes. To reach elimination it is also clear that there is a need to ensure at risk communities have access to high quality water and sanitation. Understanding the zoonotic potential of schistosome species is also essential to develop a stronger collaboration with the veterinary public health sector.

Prevalence of schistosomiasis among school aged children in Altakamol area, Khartoum state, Sudan

Trig Mohamed Elfaki et al.
Journal of Microbiology & Experimentation
Cross sectional study was carried out among school aged children in Altakamol area - Khartoum state, from February to March 2017 to recognize the prevalence of Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma mansoni among school children in the area. The overall prevalence of Schistosomiasis in the area was 5%. Significant association was observed between gender and age and acquiring Schistosoma infection (p =0.01). Further study among school children with large sample size is needed.

Beyond the barrier: Female Genital Schistosomiasis as a potential risk factor for HIV-1 acquisition

AS Sturt, EL Webb, SC Francis, RJ Hayes, ALBustinduy
Acta Tropica
Beyond the pathognomonic breach in the cervicovaginal barrier caused by FGS, this narrative review explores potential mechanisms for a synergistic relationship between S. haematobium infection, FGS, and HIV-1 acquisition through vaginal inflammation and target cell recruitment.

Finding the Achilles' heel of a killer parasite

UT Southwestern Medical Center
Two studies in Science examine the basic biology of schistosomes to uncover vulnerabilities that could lead to new treatments.

Analytical and Clinical Assessment of a Portable, Isothermal RPA Assay for the Molecular Diagnosis of Urogenital Schistosomiasis

John Archer et al.
Here, the analytical performance of a previously developed RPA assay (RT-ShDra1-RPA) targeting the Schistosoma haematobium Dra1 genomic region was assessed using commercially synthesised S. haematobium Dra1 copies and laboratory-prepared samples spiked with S. haematobium eggs. Clinical performance was also assessed by comparing diagnostic outcomes with that of a reference diagnostic standard, urine-egg microscopy. The RT-ShDra1-RPA therefore shows promise as a rapid and highly sensitive diagnostic tool able to diagnose urogenital schistosomiasis at the point-of-care.

Breaking the cycle of neglect - Reducing the burden of parasitic worms in sub-Saharan Africa

Global Schistosomiasis Alliance
Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis are the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. The most recent WHO roadmap for neglected tropical diseases sets targets for the elimination of both schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis as public health problems by 2030. Once this is achieved, the countries will need to eliminate transmission to stop these diseases returning.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Integration of health education intervention to improve the compliance to mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminth

Tilak Chandra Nath et al.
Parasite Epidemiology and Control
Despite bi-annual MDA since 2008, the reported compliance is still below the target, and the STH prevalence is high in several areas. Increased knowledge score and behaviour changes due to HE intervention demonstrated in this study hint that integration of HE with MDA is feasible and can be promising to promote MDA compliance and to reduce STH prevalence in this setting.

A first nation-wide assessment of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in Fijian primary schools, and factors associated with ...

Sung Hye Kim et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
By linking with ongoing LF-transmission assessment surveys (LF-TAS), we undertook the first nation-wide assessment of STH in Fijian primary schools. Wearing shoes and use of piped water reduced the prevalence of STH. It is concluded that STH in school-age children in Fiji is at low levels, but hot spot localities of elevated STH endemicity remain.

Comparison of real-time PCR and the Kato-Katz method for the diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminthiasis and assessment of cure

Beatrice Barda et al.
BMC Microbiology
In conclusion, a single real-time PCR is as sensitive as quadruplicate KK for T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides detection but more sensitive for hookworm, which has an influence on the estimated treatment efficacy. PCR method with DNA extraction using the “bead-beating protocol” should be further promoted in endemic areas and laboratories that can afford the needed equipment.

Efficacy, safety and acceptability of ... chewable formulation versus solid tablet mebendazole against hookworm ... in children

Marta S. Palmeirim et al.
Though we could not demonstrate superiority in terms of efficacy of the new formulation, the difference between arms was small and therefore, the chewable formulation could be safely used as an alternative to swallowable tablets, in particular in young children who may have swallowing difficulties. This might help increase compliance and, consequently, enhance the effect of preventive chemotherapy.

Prevalence, risk factors, challenges, and the currently available diagnostic tools for the determination of helminths infections

Muhammad Riaz et al.
European Journal of Inflammation
The articles available online on important portals like google scholar, PubMed, Digital Libraries, PakMediNet, Science direct, and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) were searched for inclusion of the data in this review study. This review study provides a comprehensive report on the prevalence, accurate diagnostic, and chemotherapeutic protocols to reduce the burden of worms infections.

2-Methyl-pentanoyl-carnitine (2-MPC): a urine biomarker for patent Ascaris lumbricoides infection

Ole Lagatie et al.
Scientific Reports
This report demonstrates that urinary 2-MPC can be considered an A. lumbricoides-specific biomarker that can be used to monitor infection intensity.

Helminth Egg Automatic Detector (HEAD): Improvements in development for digital identification and quantification ...

B.Jiménez et al.
Experimental Parasitology
This tool is capable of identifying and quantifying different species of helminth eggs in otherwise difficult environmental samples: wastewater, soil, biosolids, excreta, and sludge, with a sensitivity and specificity for the TensorFlow (TF) model in the web service values of 96.82% and 97.96% respectively.

300,000 people to receive free treatment for bilharzia and intestinal worms in Mount Darwin and Shamva

Roselyne Sachiti and Tatenda Chimbwanda
WHO Africa; The Herald Zimbabwe
Hundreds other children between 1 and 15 years maintain social distancing as they patiently wait for their turn to have their height measured by a nurse. The height of each child will determine the dose of deworming medicines- praziquantel and albendazole- being freely distributed through the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) led National Mass Treatment Campaign for bilharzia and intestinal worms, also known as Mass Drug Administration (MDAs) ...

Study to assess the performance of CAA measurement as a diagnostic tool for the detection of Schistosoma haematobium . . .

Yabo Josiane Honkpehedji et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
The freeBILy trial in Gabon will generate a comprehensive set of data on the accuracy of the UCP-LF CAA test for the detection of S. haematobium infection in pregnant women and newborn babies and for the use of CAA as a marker to determine PZQ efficacy.

First case report of Schistosoma japonicum in Nepal

Dipendra Bajracharya, Sanjeet Pandit and Durga Bhandari
Microbiology Society
As the parasite has not been reported to date in Nepal, many people are unaware of its mode of infection and pathogenesis. Many laboratory workers are heedless with the egg of the parasite due to which this parasite might be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. This case report might help laboratory workers to be sentient about the parasite and further diagnosis in future.


The effect of Mass Drug Administration for trachoma on antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis pgp3 in children

Sheila K. West, Beatriz Munoz, Harran Mkocha, Charlotte A. Gaydos & Thomas C. Quinn
Nature Scientific Reports
A longitudinal cohort of 1908 children ages 1–9 years in Tanzania from 50 communities were followed at baseline and for 6 months after MDA. MDA has a small effect on reduction of MFI-BG.

The use of serology for trachoma surveillance: Current status and priorities for future investigation

Diana L. Martin et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
To date, nine countries have validated elimination of trachoma as a public health problem. . . and guidance for postvalidation surveillance to detect recrudescence if and when it occurs will be critical to maintaining hard-won programmatic gains. Serologic surveillance has potential for providing a measure of ocular Ct transmission to assess changes in transmission over time.

Dramatic Reduction in Blindness is Good News—Let’s Finish the Job

David A Ross
Global Health NOW
The WHO has reported a remarkable 91% reduction in people at risk of contracting the neglected tropical disease since 2002. . . . As we’ve seen in the fight against COVID-19, access to proper hand washing is key. Sustainably preventing trachoma—as well as many other costly, debilitating and deadly illnesses and diseases, like leprosy and schistosomiasis—requires WASH. In fact, all 20 NTDs can be better addressed with access to improved WASH across the continuum of prevention, treatment, care and disability management.

Strategic plan for cross border activities for neglected tropical diseases control and elimination in Uganda: 2019-2023

Ministry of Health
International Coalition for Trachoma Control
This plan therefore attempts to provide strategic guidance on the planning, implementation and evaluation of cross border interventions.

Understanding hard-to-reach communities: local perspectives and experiences of trachoma control among the pastoralist Maasai

Tara B. Mtuy et al.
Journal of Biosocial Science
Effective delivery of MDA programmes in such communities requires a critical understanding of community experiences and responses that can inform tailored approaches to trachoma control. Application of a critical social science perspective should be embedded in planning and evaluation of all NTD programmes.

The simplified trachoma grading system, amended

Anthony W Solomon
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
In 2018, at WHO’s 4th global scientific meeting on trachoma, the definition of one of the signs, trachomatous trichiasis, was amended to exclude trichiasis that affects only the lower eyelid. This paper presents the amended system, updates its presentation, offers notes on its use and identifies areas of ongoing debate.


Neglected tropical diseases: treating more than one billion people for the fifth consecutive year

World Health Organization
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) published data showing that more than one billion people were treated in 2019 for at least one of the five neglected tropical diseases1 (NTDs) amenable to prevention, control and elimination through large-scale preventive treatment campaigns.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: The Ascend Learning and Innovation Fund

Ascend West and Central Africa
The Ascend West and Central Africa programme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), is excited to announce a new cycle for the learning and innovation fund to accelerate the control and elimination efforts for up to five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths and trachoma.


DNDi welcomes GHIT Fund support for Phase I trial of novel treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis

Frédéric Ojardias
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Intiative
DNDi is pleased to announce the renewed commitment of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) to DNDi’s development of CpG-D35 as a novel treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Experiences of the one-health approach by the Uganda Trypanosomiasis Control Council . . . of zoonotic sleeping sickness

C.Waiswaac, R.Azubac, J.MakebabI, C.Waiswad, R.M.Wangoolaa
Parasite Epidemiology and Control
Uganda by Act of Parliament in 1992 decided to handle the complex approach to control of sleeping sickness and animal trypanosomiasis by establishing the Uganda Trypanosomiasis Control Council (UTCC) and its secretariat the Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanosomiasis in Uganda (COCTU). The Institutional arrangement aimed to promote engagement with key stakeholders across nine key ministries and the community, all vital for control of zoonotic sleeping sickness, creating a One Health platform, long before such practice was common. From 2006, approaches by the Public Private Partnership, Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness (SOS) have required involvement of stakeholders in the promotion of insecticide treated cattle as live tsetse baits, targeting elimination of zoonotic sleeping sickness. Experiences in promoting sustainability of these interventions have been captured in this study as part of the Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA) partnership.

Low Trypanosoma cruzi transmission risk to humans in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas

Kyndall C. Dye-Braumuller et al
Parasite Epidemiology and Control
In the Trans-Pecos region of Texas, reports of domestic triatomine bites were common (67%), with 36% of residentially collected triatomines positive for Trypanosoma cruzi. Despite the transmission potential, no human infections were detected. Collected Triatoma rubida species were themselves frequently parasitized with mites.

National mapping of soil-transmitted helminth and schistosome infections in Ethiopia

Gemechu Tadesse Leta et al
Parasites & Vectors
The results confirm that Ethiopia is endemic for both STHs and SCH, posing a significant public health problem. Following the WHO recommendations on mass drug administration, 18 and 14 million school-aged children are in need of MDA for STHs and SCH, respectively, based on the number of SACs that live on the eligible geographical areas.

Dengue infection modulates locomotion and host seeking in Aedes aegypti

Anaïs K. Tallon et al
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Our study reveals that dengue virus-1 enhances vector-related behaviors in the early stages post-infection that aid in avoiding predation and increasing spatial exploration. On the other hand, at the later stages of infection, the virus enhances the host-seeking capacity of the vector, thereby increasing the risk of virus transmission.

A Mighty Force: One woman sets her sights on the health of Filipino children

RTI International
Dr. Hernandez played a key role in this success. Dr. Hernandez and her team are also looking to the future to ensure that these health gains are sustained through strong monitoring and surveillance systems. . . .USAID’s Act to End NTDs | East program is supporting the Philippines on this journey, with a focus on capacity-building and sustainability, including support for the strengthening of an NTD regional laboratory network and the development of NTD curriculum modules for health professional training.


Disease treatments restart in Africa as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Treatment programmes that will reach millions of Africans at risk from debilitating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have restarted in a significant step towards COVID-19 recovery.

Trachoma, too, is feeling the invisible impact of Covid crisis

Clifford Akumu
PD Online
“If you provide water, sanitation, hygiene and behaviour change communication in endemic areas, trachoma disappears,” Dr Matendechero adding that Covid-19 and NTDs like trachoma can both be controlled by taking the same preventive measures.

Predicted Impact of COVID-19 on Neglected Tropical Disease Programs and the Opportunity for Innovation

Jaspreet Toor et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many key neglected tropical disease (NTD) activities have been postponed. This hindrance comes at a time when the NTDs are progressing towards their ambitious goals for 2030. Mathematical modelling on several NTDs, namely gambiense sleeping sickness, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH), trachoma, and visceral leishmaniasis, shows that the impact of this disruption will vary across the diseases.

Neglected tropical diseases: impact of COVID-19 and WHO’s response

World Health Organization
COVID-19 is impacting global health products supply chains, affecting key steps in the supply chain management (SCM) cycle.


The Trinity Challenge is a coalition of members united by the common aim of using data and advanced analytics to develop insights and actions to contribute to a world better protected from health emergencies.


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

Run the TCS NYC Marathon to help beat NTDs… wherever you are!
October 17 - Noember 1, 2020, Online
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
Although we may not be able to run together in person thi year, you can enter the TCS New York City Marathon virtually, from wherever you are! By joining Team END Fund, you can support the END Fund's mission all while participating in the world-renowned TCS New York City Marathon from the comfort of your own town or city.

Skin deep – How do we deal with skin diseases to reach the 2030 NTD Road Map?
October 21, Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization

World Health Summit 
October 25-27, 2020, Berlin, Germany
The World Health Summit is one of the world’s leading strategic forums for global health. Held annually in Berlin, it brings together leaders from politics, science and medicine, the private sector, and civil society to set the agenda for a healthier future. 300 speakers and 2,500 participants from 100 countries take part.

6th World One Health Congress 
October 30 - November 3, 2020, Edinburgh, Scotland
The 6th World One Health Congress is the largest One Health event of the year, where experts and researchers from around the world present their latest scientific research.

Optimizing One health and Global Vector Control Response to reach the 2030 NTD Roadmap goals
November 10, 2020, Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization

COR-NTD 2020
November 12-14, 2020, Virtual Meeting
The goal of the meeting is to strengthen NTD programs by addressing knowledge gaps in a coordinated way, identifying emerging research priorities and informing donor investments. The meeting brings together researchers, program implementers, and their partners and includes a wide diversity of research topics. Registration is now closed.

#TropMed20 - Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
November 15-19, 2020, Virtual Meeting
The ASTMH Annual Meeting draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, foundations, government, not for profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, 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 healthcare providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health

What role do partnerships play in NTDs and the roll out of the new Roadmap?
December 2, 2020, Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization

The leadership needed to stimulate the battle against NTDs
December 16, 2020, Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization