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New Road Map for NTDs Launched & 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.  

Statement on 2030 Road Map Launch from Pat Lammie, Director, Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, Secretariat, Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases




Lymphatic filariasis

Elephantiasis [parasite] found in Narayansthan and Kushmisera in Baglung

MyRepublica (Nepal)
Even though the campaign to eradicate the elephantiasis from Nepal is in the final phase, this disease is still traced in seven districts of Nepal including Baglung, said Saroj Adhikari, Supervisor at the Infectious Disease Research and Training Centre, Hetauda. "Anti-elephantiasis drug is administered regularly for five years, and if the [parasite] is not traced after five years, the campaign is deemed successful along with administration of the sixth and final dose," he said. As a result, the campaign has to be extended by two more years in Baglung.

World NTD Day 2021: Efforts to Eliminate Priority NTDs from Afar

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
For World NTD Day 2021, we recognize two innovative, life-changing efforts. The debilitating burden of LF in American Samoa Supporting onchocerciasis elimination in Tanzania There is a lot of excitement about the progress made so far to free people from the burden of NTDs. Though challenges are expected, CDC and its partners remain steadfastly focused about the essential work that must continue to prevent and control NTDs.


The Mbam drainage system and onchocerciasis transmission post ivermectin mass drug administration (MDA) campaign, Cameroon

Raphael Awah Abong et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We investigated the impact of ivermectin on entomological indices within 9 months following a large-scale MDA in the Mbam river drainage. The river system factors that could have favoured abundance vector breeding and contribute to the persistence of disease transmission were also examined within the study period. We observed vector abundance and high entomological indices throughout the study period following ivermectin MDA. We also observed high water discharge along the main river of the drainage basin in both the rainy and dry seasons and this is due to the presence of two dams constructed upstream at Bamendjing and Mape to regularize the course of river Sanaga in view of generating hydroelectric power at Edea. Factors favouring continuous and persistent disease transmission are present in this drainage basin despite over 20 years of annual IVM-MDA. There is need for alternative control strategy in order to accelerate the fight against onchocerciasis in the area.

Computational Design and Preliminary Serological Analysis of a Novel Multi-Epitope Vaccine Candidate against Onchocerciasis . .

Robert Adamu Shey et al.
Preliminary immunological analyses revealed that the multi-epitope vaccine candidate reacted with antibodies in sera from both onchocerciasis infected individuals, endemic normals as well as loiasis-infected persons but not with the control sera from European individuals. These results support the premise for further characterisation of the engineered protein as a vaccine candidate for onchocerciasis.

Micro‐CT imaging of Onchocerca infection of Simulium damnosum s.l. blackflies and comparison of the . . . membrane thickness . .

M. J. R. Hall et al.
Medical and Veterinary Entomology
However, using micro‐computed tomography techniques, without interference from physical tissue manipulation, we visualized in three dimensions for the first time an L1 larva of an Onchocerca species within the thoracic musculature of a blackfly, Simulium damnosum s.l. Theobald 1903 (Diptera: Simuliidae), naturally infected in Ghana. The possibility that thicker peritrophic membranes in savannah flies could account for their lower parasite loads was not supported, but there were limits to our analysis. While there were no statistically significant differences between the mean thicknesses of the peritrophic membranes, in the anterior, dorsal and ventral regions, of forest and savannah blackflies killed 34–48 min after a blood‐meal, the thickness of the peritrophic membrane in the posterior region could not be measured. Micro‐computed tomography has the potential to provide novel information on many other parasite/vector systems and impactful images for public engagement in health education.


Haematological changes in Schistosoma haematobium infections in school children in Gabon

Jean Claude Dejon-Agobé, Ayôla A. Adegnika and Martin P. Grobusch
We assessed here the impact of urogenital schistosomiasis on the full blood counts (FBC) as proxy diagnostic tool for schistosomiasis. . . Schistosomiasis is associated with a characteristic FBC profile of schoolchildren living in Lambaréné, indicating the necessity to consider schistosomiasis as a single cause of disease, or a co-morbidity, when interpreting FBC in endemic areas.

The impact of Opisthorchis felineus infection and praziquantel treatment on the intestinal microbiota in children

Tatiana S. Sokolova et al.
Acta Tropica
Following praziquantel therapy, there were significant differences in abundances of some microorganisms, including an increase of Faecalibacterium and decrease of Megasphaera, Roseburia. Enterobacteriaceae and Escherichia abundances were decreased up to the control group values. Our results highlight the importance of the host-parasite-microbiota interactions for the community health in the endemic regions.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Areas of Metabolomic Exploration for Helminth Infections

Jeffrey D. Whitman, Judy A. Sakanari and Makedonka Mitreva
ACS Infectious Disease
Overall, we hope to provide a comprehensive guide for utilizing metabolomics in the context of helminthic disease.

Stochastic challenges to interrupting helminth transmission

Robert J. Hardwick, Marleen Werkman, James E. Truscott and Roy M. Anderson
In this paper, we investigate how well the standard deterministic models match the predictions made using individual-based stochastic simulations. We also explore how well concepts which derive from deterministic models, such as ‘breakpoints’ in transmission, apply in the stochastic world. Employing an individual-based stochastic model framework we also investigate how transmission and control are affected by the migration of infected people into a defined community. To give our study focus we consider the control of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) by mass drug administration (MDA), though our methodology is readily applicable to the other helminth species such as the schistosome parasites and the filarial worms. We show it is possible to theoretically define a ‘stochastic breakpoint’ where much noise surrounds the expected deterministic breakpoint. We also discuss the concept of the ‘interruption of transmission’ independent of the ‘breakpoint’ concept where analyses of model behaviour illustrate the current limitations of deterministic models to account for the ‘fade-out’ or transmission extinction behaviour in simulations. Our analysis of migration confirms a relationship between the critical infected human migration rate scale (i.e., order of magnitude) per unit of time and the death rate of infective stages that are released into the free-living environment. This relationship is shown to determine the likelihood that control activities aim at chemotherapeutic treatment of the human host will eliminate transmission.

Intestinal parasites in child and youth populations of Argentina: Environmental factors determining geographic distribution

Paola Cociancic, Sandra Edith Torrusio, Mariela Garraza, María Lorena Zonta and Graciela Teresa Navone
Revista Argentina de Microbiología
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the environmental variables that act as risk factors for intestinal parasitosis in children and youths in Argentina. The association between environmental variables related to temperature, precipitation and soil and parasitosis found in children and youths from different provinces was evaluated, including land use/cover classes obtained from satellite images. Of the total population analyzed, 66.9% of the participants were parasitized.

Comorbidity of Geo-Helminthes among Malaria Outpatients of the Health Facilities in Ethiopia: Systematic Review . . .

Minyahil Tadesse Boltena et al.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The Random effects model was used to estimate the summary prevalence of comorbidity of malaria and soil transmitted helminthiases and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). . . The overall pooled result showed 13% of the ambulatory patients infected by malaria and intestinal helminths concurrently in Ethiopia. . . The Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and its international partners working on malaria elimination programs should give more emphasis to the effect of the interface of malaria and soil transmitted helminths, which calls for an integrated disease control and prevention.


Adapting in a Pandemic: Simple Innovations for Big Impact in Trachoma Elimination

Jeremiah Ngondi
RTI International
After consulting with his colleagues on USAID’s Act to End NTDs | East program, Dr. Ngondi settled on a design that integrated a standard transparent face shield with the Optivisor loupes—mounting and fixing the loupes directly into the shield. The detailed instruction for fabrication and assembly of the integrated loupes-face shield can be found in this article. The integrated loupes-face shield was subsequently included in research carried out by Sightsavers and partners, in which health professionals assessed four different design prototypes. The integrated loupes-face shield was one of two prototypes selected for testing in the field because they provided one of the best combinations of visibility, convenience, comfort, cleaning, functionality, robustness, and cost.


WHO issues new 10-year plan to end suffering from neglected tropical diseases

World Health Organization
A new World Health Organization (WHO) road map for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) proposes ambitious targets and innovative approaches to tackle 20 diseases which affect more than a billion mainly poor people and which thrive in areas where access to quality health services, clean water and sanitation is scarce. Targets include the eradication of dracunculiasis (guinea worm) and yaws and a 90% reduction in the need for treatment for NTDs by 2030. `Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: a road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030´ aims to accelerate programmatic action and renew momentum by proposing concrete actions focused on integrated platforms for delivery of interventions, and thereby improve programme cost– effectiveness and coverage. It was endorsed by the World Health Assembly (WHA 73(33)) in November 2020.

Overcoming Neglect: Finding ways to manage and control Neglected Tropical Diseases

Relief Web
The report, Overcoming Neglect, details Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) involvement with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) over the last three decades. Our work includes treating patients, carrying out operational research, supporting efforts to identify new treatments and diagnostics; and playing an active role in reducing their incidence. We call for an improved global response to NTDs, better access to diagnosis and safe, effective treatment and care for patients.

Eight recommendations to improve apps for neglected tropical diseases

Sònia Armengou
Universitat Oberta De Catalunya
UOC researchers have analysed 13 apps developed for the treatment and control of neglected tropical diseases, identifying the main weaknesses and evaluating possible improvements

World NTD Day ― January 30, Light Up the World

Eisai Global
As one of the activities for raising awareness, “Light Up the World” for the World NTD day will be held on January 30, 2021. More than 55 most iconic landmarks and monuments such as Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy), Great Wall of China (China) and Giza Pyramids (Egypt) in more than 20 countries will light up in orange and purple to raise awareness of NTDs. Bloomberg Tower (USA), Willis Tower (USA), Tower 42 (UK), Petronas Twin Towers (Malaysia) and Navamindrapobitr (Thailand) are also in the list. Eisai is taking part in “Light Up the World” event by sponsoring the light up of Tokyo Tower, an iconic landmark in Japan.

World NTD Day: Tracing the roots

To help raise awareness, we include an extract from United Voices, a story about the founding of the END Fund, which traces the roots of NTDs and reveals how the term ‘neglected tropical diseases’ was coined.

Medicine donation programmes supporting the global drive to end the burden of neglected tropical diseases

Mark Bradley et al.
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Extraordinary global health advances have been made in filariasis, onchocerciasis, trachoma, trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, intestinal parasites and others; and these advances are taking place in the context of strengthening health systems and meeting the global development goals espoused by the WHO. The pharmaceutical manufacturers, already strong collaborators in initiating or supporting these disease-targeted programmes, have committed to continuing their partnership roles in striving to meet the targets of the WHO's new NTD roadmap to 2030.

How a Modest Investment is Supporting Homegrown Science in Benin and Beyond

Chelsea Toledo
USAID Medium
Beginning in 2013, with support from USAID, Benin’s Ministry of Health began giving medicines annually to help prevent lymphatic filariasis. Through this strategy, entire communities are offered medicines that prevent the transmission of lymphatic filariasis. However, even with that support in place, not everyone knew about the strategy to prevent the disease. . . . Looking at mosquitoes was another potential approach. Through a process called molecular xenomonitoring, researchers test mosquitoes — not humans — for the presence of disease-causing parasites. If they find signs of the parasite in the mosquitoes, that is their cue to look more closely for the infection in humans. Pelagie finally had an entomological focus outside of malaria vector control.

CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria Strategic Priorities 2021–2025

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC will work with domestic and global partners towards three strategic goals over the next five years: 1. Ensure prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of parasitic diseases in the United States 2. Reduce the global burden of malaria 3. Reduce the global burden of priority neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)


Preliminary comparison between an in-house real-time PCR vs microscopy for the diagnosis of Loa loa . . .

Fabio Formenti et al.
Acta Tropica
The aim of the current work is the preliminary evaluation of the performance of the in-house real-time PCR described by Ta and colleagues compared to the routine microscopic approach for the screening of filarial infections in the clinical setting outside endemic areas, using samples from patients accessing the dedicated outpatient clinics for migrants and travelers of a reference centre for tropical diseases in Northern Italy.

Potentials of marine natural products against malaria, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis parasites: a review of recent articles

Justus Amuche Nweze et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Some of the currently available therapeutic drugs have some limitations such as toxicity and questionable efficacy and long treatment period, which have encouraged resistance. These have prompted many researchers to focus on finding new drugs that are safe, effective, and affordable from marine environments. The aim of this review was to show the diversity, structural scaffolds, in-vitro or in-vivo efficacy, and recent progress made in the discovery/isolation of marine natural products (MNPs) with potent bioactivity against malaria, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis.

Annual Meeting: Call for Symposia

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Submit a symposium proposal for the ASTMH 70th Annual Meeting, being held November 17-21, 2021, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, adjacent to Washington, DC. We are planning an in-person meeting with online aspects. February 3, 2021 – Online Submission Site Opens; February 24, 2021 – Submission Deadline.

Guinea Worm Case Totals

The Carter Center
When The Carter Center began leading the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease in 1986, there were an estimated 3.5 million cases in at least 21 countries in Africa and Asia. Today, that number has been reduced by more than 99.99 percent.


Efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Africa forge ahead despite the pandemic

Louise Byrne
Relief Web
Governments in eleven countries in Africa delivered more than 35 million preventative treatments for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in 2020, despite COVID-19. The announcement comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) launches on January 28 a new NTD road map targeting the elimination of these ancient conditions everywhere. World NTD Day will also be marked two days later on 30 January as iconic buildings across the world are lit up, both to celebrate the progress made so far in combatting NTDs and to call for further awareness, action and investment.

Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in eliminating trachoma as a public health problem

Seth Blumberg et al.
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
We identify three distinct scenarios for geographic districts depending on whether the basic reproduction number and the treatment-associated reproduction number are above or below a value of 1. We find that when the basic reproduction number is <1, no significant delays in disease control will be caused. However, when the basic reproduction number is >1, significant delays can occur. In most districts, 1 y of COVID-related delay can be mitigated by a single extra round of mass drug administration. However, supercritical districts require a new paradigm of infection control because the current strategies will not eliminate disease.

Forgotten but not gone: COVID-19 focus poses new risks to 'invisible' leprosy sufferers

Randy Mulyanto and Beh Lih Yi
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Indonesia reported more than 17,000 new cases in 2019, the third highest in the world after India and Brazil, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And as affected countries focus on combatting COVID-19, health experts fear leprosy is being pushed further to the margins.


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

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: impact and guidance
World Health Organization

Operational and Implementation Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Research: A field perspective
January 30, 2021
Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine and International Teaching & Capacity Building

Power of Partnership: Defeating Onchocerciasis 
February 1, 2021 Webinar
The Task Force for Global Health

Noma-a disease that shouldn't exist anymore 
February 11, 2021 Webinar
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases

SAVE THE DATE: ISNTD d³ 2021 (Drug discovery, development & diagnostics for NTDs)
February 24-25, 2021 
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases

SAVE THE DATE: ISNTD Festival 2021
March 24-25, 2021
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting 2021 
June 20-26, 2021
The Commonwealth

World Field Epidemiology Day 
September 7, 2021

World Field Epidemiology Day 
September 7, 2021
Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network