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New Publication Offers Guidance for NTD Mapping and Intervention Strategies During Emergent Situations & 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. 

Mare Workluel is a CDD in Gondar region’s Wudi Gemzu kebele (administrative area), a river blindness hot spot that is receiving mass drug administration four times a year instead of the usual one or two. A river flows a short distance from this village, providing a breeding ground for the black flies that transmit onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Carter Center/R. Youngblood

Lymphatic filariasis

Anti-filariasis drug campaign launched

Rastriya Samachar Samiti
The Himalayan (Nepal)
The Ministry of Health and Population is administering the DEC (diethylcarbamazine citrate) and deworming tablets (albendazole) tablets in the 12 highrisk districts of the country from today. Director of the Department of Health Services, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel said the drugs were being administered to 7.45 million people of 129 local units in Jhapa, Morang, Dhankuta, Bara, Lamjung, Parbat, Baglung, Kapilbastu, Dang, Banke, Bardiya and Kailali districts. These districts have been identified as high risk districts.

Triple-Drug Treatment Is Effective for Lymphatic Filariasis Microfilaria Clearance in Samoa

Patricia M. Graves et al.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
The triple-drug MDA strategy was effective at clearing Mf when given and taken at the correct dose.

Onchocerciasis

Ethiopian Volunteers Work on Front Lines of Health

The Carter Center
The Carter Center is working closely with the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis throughout that East African nation. Essential to the effort are thousands of volunteers called community-directed distributors, or CDDs, who are chosen by their own communities and do all the work of carefully administering medicine and keeping detailed records.

Schistosomiasis

Prevalence and risk factors of Schistosoma mansoni infection among preschool-aged children from Panamasso village, Burkina Faso

Mamoudou Cisse et al.
Parasites & Vectors
S. mansoni was the sole species infecting a high proportion of PSAC in the study area. A mass drug administration program with praziquantel is therefore urgently required for those below 6 years old. Other control strategies should include increased community-awareness and provision of safe water.

Video: Spotlight on schistosomiasis during World Health Day

SCI Foundation
Health is a human right, yet many people remain untreated as some diseases like schistosomiasis are not prioritised despite their impact. Learn about this disease and how SCI Foundation works with governments in sub-Saharan Africa on its prevention and treatment.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

0.9m children to be administered deworming tablets

The Nation (Pakistan)
More than 0.9 million children between five to 14 years of age will get free of cost deworming tablets during a five-day-long drive being started from April 5 to prevent parasitic worms from infecting them. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), District Health Authority Dr Faiza Naeem told APP, that the drive will help to overcome malnutrition and intestinal infections among children as [intestinal] worms can cause several diseases.

Novel statistical approaches to identify risk factors for soil-transmitted helminth infection in Timor-Leste

Jessica Yi Han Aw et al.
International Journal for Parasitology
We compared logistic regression, recursive partitioning and Bayesian networks to identify risk factors for STH infection. Highlights include: Logistic regression identified fewest variables associated with STH infections compared with the two alternative methods. Recursive partitioning identified more demographic and WASH variables, and Bayesian networks more environmental variables. Model performance was similar across all three statistical techniques. Recursive partitioning can identify at-risk population subgroups, while Bayesian networks can run real-time scenarios.

Effective low-cost preservation of human stools in field-based studies for helminth and microbiota analysis

Katharina Stracke et al.
International Journal for Parasitology
Highlights: Stool samples in epidemiological studies require preservation for molecular analysis. 16S rRNA gene sequencing relies on sample preservation to avoid bacterial degradation. The gut microbiome of Thai pre- and school-aged children was characterised. No variation was found in bacterial alpha-diversity among DESS, PD and frozen storage. DESS buffer effectively preserves stools containing soil-transmitted helminth DNA.

Evaluation of the Allplex™ GI-Helminth(I) Assay, the first marketed multiplex PCR for helminth diagnosis

Brice Autier, Jean-Pierre Gangneux and Florence Robert-Gangneux
Parasite
This study aimed to evaluate and compare the Allplex™ GI-Helminth(I) Assay to classical diagnostic methods, based on a cohort of 110 stool samples positive for helminths (microscopy) or for microsporidia (PCR). . . Overall, with an optimized extraction process, the Allplex™ GI-Helminth(I) Assay allows the detection of numerous parasites with roughly equivalent performance to that of microscopy, except for hookworms.

Promising Treatment Alternative Against Parasitic Worm Infection

myScience (Switzerland)
Strongyloidiasis, a parasitic worm infection caused by soil-transmitted helminths, remains a neglected public health problem with limited treatment options. Swiss TPH researchers conducted the first dose-finding study with moxidectin against strongyloidiasis. The drug could become a treatment alternative to the only treatment available so far and help fill the empty anthelminthic drug pipeline.

Trachoma

An association between water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and prevalence of trachoma in Monze district . . .

Musonda Chikwanda et al.
Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development
The study concludes that children are at a higher risk of trachoma prevalence. Other WASH aspects, such as adequacy of water, might be more important than the presence of potable water. The prevalence of trachoma in Monze is WASH focused.

Comparison of platforms for testing antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis antigens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . . .

Sarah Gwyn et al.
Scientific Reports
These data show optimization of antibody tests against Ct to better differentiate districts above or below trachoma elimination thresholds.

Analysis: Tackling Trachoma Through a Three-pronged Approach

Christian Blind Mission
Providing further training for community health workers and the formation of local water sanitation and hygiene committee (WASHCOs) will ensure the community continues to reduce the prevalence of trachoma in the regions. Following training, 20 committees have taken over management and maintenance of the clean water schemes and sanitation facilities. Female village hygiene educators (VHEs) have also been trained up to assist the WASHCOs on raising awareness about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation. Water infrastructure maintenance training has also been provided by the government.

Cross-cutting

Complex emergencies and the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases in Africa . . .

Louise A. Kelly-Hope et al.
Conflict and Health
The paper presents a new methodological approach for implementing safe and effective mapping and intervention strategies in NTD endemic countries with ongoing complex emergencies, which will help to address challenges and make progress toward the NTD Roadmap targets of 2030.

Oman joins global effort to combat tropical diseases

Times of Oman
As part of their efforts to call for increased awareness, the three countries – Oman, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates – put forth a request in front of the World Health Organization to create an official day each year to mark these tropical diseases. The WHO Executive Board, in a statement, said it welcomed “initiatives that celebrate the date of 30 January as a day dedicated to neglected tropical diseases, and invites member states and relevant stakeholders to consider taking appropriate measures to continue celebrating that day.” The request by the three countries will be discussed in May 2021 at the World Health Assembly, added Ashok Moloo, an information officer for the WHO’s Department of Control of NTDs. World NTD Day was celebrated for the second time this year, and a positive vote at the assembly will make it an official health day in the WHO calendar.

Attendee awareness about preventive chemotherapy neglected tropical diseases (PC-NTD) control . . .

Hammed O. Mogaji et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Our results show that attendee knowledge and awareness about NTDs control programme and promotional activities is low. There is thus a need for NTD control programmers to engage in regular promotional activities such as media engagements to ensure improved awareness and community involvement.

Other

Global Youth NTD Storytelling Festival

Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
But rather than have their lives determined by NTDs, young people around the world are fighting back. By uniting together and using the power of their collective voice, young people are sharing their stories to demand action is taken to beat NTDs. The Youth storytelling competition is a drumbeat to the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June and will help galvanise global support for NTDs that will culminate into tangible commitments from countries that will be announced on the stage in Rwanda.

Development of Annual Operational plan for the Health intervention programme in Ogun State: A key step ...

Akinola Oluwole
Countdown
The policy makers/governing body of the Ministry of Health, Ogun State, Nigeria, decided to take the giant step of developing its first Annual Operational plan for the Health intervention programmes in Ogun State. This was part of the strategy to strengthen the health system to be able to effectively deliver the required health care services to the inhabitants of the State.

In Memorium – Dr Bagrey Ngwira

GAELF Secretariat
The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
We note with sadness the following news shared by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF). GAELF is deeply saddened to inform friends and colleagues of the recent passing of Dr Bagrey Ngwira.

COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2 Serological testing in frontline health workers in Zimbabwe

Simbarashe Rusakaniko et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In addition to clinical staff, several patient-facing health workers were characterised within Zimbabwe’s health system and the seroprevalence data indicated that previous exposure to SAR-CoV-2 had occurred across the full spectrum of patient-facing staff with nurses and nurse aides having the highest seroprevalence. Our results highlight the need for including the various health workers in IPC strategies in health centres to ensure effective biosecurity and biosafety.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

Introduction to global eye health advocacy
April 13, 2021
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness 

World Chagas Disease Day Live Facebook Event
April 14, 2021
CVM - Comunità Volontari per il Mondo

G-FINDER launch
April 15, 2021
Policy Cures Research

XVI Workshop on Chagas Disease
April 15-16, 2021
Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona

Spread Truth, Not Disease Hackathon
April 17-18, 2021
The Task Force for Global Health

30th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium
May 4, 2021
Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia

Workshop: Female Genital Schistosomiasis
May 4-11, 2021
The Geneva Learning Foundation

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

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

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