Sign up to receive our news roundups

Partners Celebrate World Health Day & 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.



Lymphatic filariasis

Results of a confirmatory mapping tool for LF endemicity classification in areas where transmission was uncertain in Ethiopia

Heven Sime et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In low transmission settings, the [World Health Organization, or] WHO mapping protocol for Lymphatic filariasis (LF) mapping has several limitations. To correctly identify the LF endemicity of woredas, a new confirmatory mapping tool was developed to test older school children for circulating filarial antigen (CFA) in settings where it is uncertain. Ethiopia is the first country to implement this new tool. In this paper, the authors present the Ethiopian experience of implementing the new confirmatory mapping tool and discuss the implications of the results for the LF program in Ethiopia and globally.

Mass treatment for Lymphatic Filariasis planned for Samoa

Elizabeth Ah-Hi
Samoa Observer
The Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) is planning a countrywide mass treatment for Lymphatic Filariasis starting on August 17, 2018. The undertaking is expected to last four weeks and will be treated according to Enumeration Regions. Mass treatment is planned to commence in Savaii between August 14-19 and then move to North West Upolu from August 20-26, with the rest of Upolu being treated from 27th August.

Special Drive Against Filariasis Launched

Ashis Sinha
Daily Pioneer (India)
Aiming to eliminate filariasis, a three-day ‘Mass Drug Administration’ (MDA) program was launched across Bokaro district on Monday. Local MLA Biranchi Narayan and Bokaro Deputy Commissioner MK Baranwal inaugurated the program by self-administrating the drug and distributing the single dose of DEC and Albendazole tablets among the people.


Ghana Frees 12 Districts Of Onchocerciasis

Kobby Blay
Ghana Health Nest
The Ghana Onchocerciasis Expert Committee (GOEC) has recommended that follow up surveys be undertaken in 12 districts in the Oti-Daka river basin, to confirm the possibility of stopping the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) with Ivermectin. The decision by the GOEC was based on an earlier data collected from 2017 by the Ghana Health Service’s Neglected Tropical Disease Programme (NTDP), which had shown that transmission of onchocerciasis (river blindness) might have been broken in these districts.

Evolution of epilepsy prevalence and incidence in onchocerciasis-endemic areas: 28 year cross sectional study and comparison

Helena Greter et al.
BMJ Open
The main objective of this study is to identify the potential impact of long-term onchocerciasis control using community driven treatment with ivermectin on the prevalence and incidence of epilepsy in selected villages in the Mahenge area of the Ulanga district in Tanzania. The study consists of two parts: (1) a study to determine the prevalence and incidence of epilepsy and (2) a study to determine ivermectin coverage, onchocerciasis prevalence and level of transmission. Data collection was carried out between January and September 2017. Analysis is planned to be finalized by end of 2017 to allow publishing of the results in 2018.

From river blindness control to elimination: bridge over troubled water

Robert Colebunders et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
In this paper we argue that despite the delineation of a reasonably well-defined elimination strategy, its implementation will present particular difficulties in practice. We aim to highlight these in an attempt to ensure that they are well understood and that effective plans can be laid to solve them by the countries concerned and their international partners.

Survey to ascertain prevalence of River Blindness rolls out in Karonga

Tiwonge Kumwenda
Nyasa Times
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has disclosed it will be conducting a survey whose aim is to ascertain the prevalence of onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, in the lakeshore district of Karonga. The one-month-long survey will be done in 34 villages and 30 primary schools in the district.


Surviving the Snails of Uganda A young man’s brush with a mysterious disease

Michael French
With doctors scratching their heads, Francis was referred to a gastroenterologist in Kampala, Uganda’s bustling capital. Finally, they had answers. Francis was diagnosed with an advanced case of intestinal schistosomiasis, which had ravaged his organs and increased his likelihood of experiencing kidney failure, hypertension, enlarged spleen and several other complications in the future. “It damaged everything to the full and then it was flushed out (of my body),” he said. “I had schistosomiasis way back, and I never knew.”

Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding urinary schistosomiasis among adults in the Ekombe Bonji Health Area, Cameroon

Laura Ngolere Folefa et al.
The Pan African Medical Journal
Findings from this study will provide baseline information on knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding urinary schistosomiasis in the Ekombe Bonji health area. These will be useful in future assessments, as the information can help subsequent interventions in the control of the disease and most importantly, the control strategies will be based on the community needs.

[AUDIO] Stranger in a Strange Land

Vincent Racaniello
This Week in Parisitism
Shivang Shah joins This Week in Parasitism to solve the case of the New Yorker with Rash and Pins and Needles, and reveal how agrochemicals increase the risk of human schistosomiasis by causing high snail density.

Drinking themselves full of disease

Adie Vanessa Offiong
Daily Trust [Nigeria]
River Eku is the most reliable water source in Paikon Kore. The women and children who visit it are unwittingly exposed to the third deadliest disease in the world as the river is home to 6,000 bacteria colonies per liter of water. Mr. Michael Ayeni, certified by the Institute of Public Analysis of Nigeria (IPAN) is a laboratory analyst and Head of Lab at the Waste Water Management department of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board. He analysed the chemical, physical, microbiological characteristics of the water sample from River Eku from March 9 to 26, 2018.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Albendazole Treatment Improves Work Capacity in Women Smallholder Farmers Infected with Hookworm: A Double-Blind RCT

Margaret Salmon et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The goal of this trial was to determine whether treatment with albendazole impacts the work capacity of women smallholder farmers. Participants (N = 250) were randomly selected from safe motherhood groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo. . . Treatment with albendazole was associated with improved aerobic work capacity post treatment. Given modest costs of drug distributions, risk benefits of periodic deworming warrants further study in larger controlled trials.

Deworm drive: Government targets 1.37 crore children in State

The New Indian Express
After the success of Measles and Rubella vaccination campaign, the Odisha State Government is all set to go for deworming of nearly 1.37 [approximately 10 million] crore children, aged between one and 19 on Wednesday. The bi-annual campaign considered to be one of the world’s largest public health programmes to protect children from intestinal parasitic worms that can lead to anaemia, malnutrition, impaired mental, physical ad cognitive development will be conducted across all Anganwadi centres and schools in Odisha.

Subclinical Enteric Parasitic Infections and Growth Faltering in Infants in São Tomé, Africa: A Birth Cohort Study

Marisol Garzón et al.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The associations between enteric pathogenic parasites and growth in infants in São Tomé were explored using a refined anthropometric approach to recognize early growth faltering . . . This birth cohort study conducted in Sao Tomé confirmed the previously described association between enteric pathogenic parasites and growth faltering in infants living in a [low- or middle-income country, or] LMIC.

Hookworm treatment improves workers’ endurance

Jessica Pevner
Yale News
The goal of this research was to determine whether the treatment of small-scale women farmers in Congo with deworming medicine would improve their work capacity. “It’s one of the first studies on the record to demonstrate the potential for deworming treatment to translate into a benefit that could improve agricultural production among small-scale women farmers,” said co-author Michael Cappello, professor of pediatrics and chair of the Council on African Studies at Yale, who co-authored the study.


Tropical Data is supporting countries to bring health for all

Emma Harding-Esch
International Coalition for Trachoma Control
Launched in July 2016, Tropical Data is a service that provides governments with real time data about disease prevalence for trachoma and an increasing number of other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Since its inception, Tropical Data has made a significant contribution to trachoma elimination programs. It has supported 648 surveys in 28 countries examining nearly 2.1 million people. This represents 82% of all trachoma surveys recorded by WHO since 2016.

[VIDEO] International Trachoma Initiative: People Partnerships, and a Pill

International Trachoma Initiative
The International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), a program of The Task Force for Global Health, works with ministries of health and partners to end this vicious cycle and give communities the opportunity to thrive. This animation celebrates 20 years of working with their partners to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem.

Sightsavers celebrates collaboration to eliminate trachoma

To mark World Health Day on Saturday 7 April, Sightsavers is celebrating the work being done to eliminate trachoma – one of the greatest success stories in global health.

Good vision key to Vision 2030

Jane Ohuma
The Star
Ahead of the meeting of Commonwealth heads of government, The Fred Hollows Foundation has joined with The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sightsavers, Peek Vision, Clearly and the International Coalition for Trachoma Control for the first time together under the banner ‘Vision for the Commonwealth’. The aim is to raise awareness and unite governments, advocates, service providers and supporters to bring vision to everyone, everywhere.


The role of community participation for integrated neglected tropical diseases and WASH interventions in Tanzania

Shirin Madon et al.
Social Science & Medicine
In this paper, we argue for community participation as an effective strategy for developing sustainable village health governance. We present the results of a pilot undertaken between November 2015 and April 2016 in which we adopted a mixed methods case study approach to implement an Enhanced Development Governance (EDG) model using existing village governance structures. Our results show that the EDG model was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the prevalence of schistosomiasis and diarrhoea, and has led to an increase in awareness of WASH interventions for sustaining gains in NTD control.

The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases 2017 Annual Report

The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases
This report highlights the results and accomplishments towards the goals and objectives of [The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases, or] ESPEN, challenges faced and resolution actions taken between November 2016 and December 2017.

Climate Change and the Neglected Tropical Diseases

Mark Booth
Advances in Parasitology
Climate change is expected to impact across every domain of society, including health. The majority of the world's population is susceptible to pathological, infectious disease whose life cycles are sensitive to environmental factors across different physical phases including air, water and soil. Nearly all so-called neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) fall into this category, meaning that future geographic patterns of transmission of dozens of infections are likely to be affected by climate change over the short (seasonal), medium (annual) and long (decadal) term.

Joining the Fight to Beat Neglected Tropical Diseases

Ahlam Awad Mohammed
Hilton Prize Coalition
Ahlam Awad Mohammed is currently completing a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship with The Task Force for Global Health's Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC), an international NGO based in Decatur, GA. In this blog post, Ahlam writes about her experience working with the NTD-SC, observing, assisting with, and developing case studies for various NTD projects based in Ethiopia.

Public health initiatives in Bengal

United News of India
The Health and Family Welfare Department has undertaken a Joint Action Plan (JAP) to prevent vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis and visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar). The JAP is made up of a State Nodal Monitoring Committee (SNMC), District-Level Monitoring Teams (DLMT) and six-member vector control teams in all wards of all municipalities. The next targets for Bengal, are elimination of leprosy in all the districts and reduction in grade-II disability among new cases (i.e. less than 1 per million of population and 0 among children)


Takeda Pharmaceutical and DNDi collaborate to progress a potential new drug for visceral leishmaniasis through the R&D pipeline

Ilan Moss
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., (“Takeda”) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (“DNDi”) today announced that they have signed an agreement to collaborate in conducting preclinical and Phase I clinical studies on drug candidate compounds that had been discovered among the aminopyrazole compound class, aimed at developing an innovative drug for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (VL).

A fine scale eco-epidemiological study on Endemic Visceral Leishmaniasis in North Ethiopian Villages

Oscar David Kirstein et al.
Acta Tropica
Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a disseminated protozoan infection caused by Leishmania donovani that affects almost half a million people annually. In Northern Ethiopia, VL is common in migrant agricultural laborers returning from the lowland sesame fields of Metema and Humera. In this study, the authors evaluate multilevel entomological, epidemiological and ecological factors associated with infection and disease through fine-scale eco-epidemiological analyses in three villages.

Psychosocial burden of localised cutaneous Leishmaniasis: a scoping review

Issam Bennis et al.
BMC Public Health
The population of interest for this scoping review are patients or their relatives with localized LCL or related scars. The authors searched the electronic databases PubMed, Web of Knowledge, PsycINFO, POPLINE, Cochrane Library, Science Direct, Global Health, and LILACS, for articles written in Arabic, English, French, Dutch, Portuguese, or Spanish, and published until the end of August 2017. From 2485 initial records, 15 papers met the inclusion criteria. Most studies showed that LCL has a significant negative effect on the QoL and mental health.

Community-based mass treatment with azithromycin for the elimination of yaws in Ghana—Results of a pilot study

Abdul Aziz Abdulai et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Surveys for yaws seroprevalence and prevalence of skin lesions were conducted among schoolchildren aged 5–15 years before and one year after the [total community treatment, or] TCT with azithromycin in Ghana. A single round of high coverage TCT is effective in reducing the prevalence of seropositive children and the prevalence of early skin lesions consistent with yaws one year following the intervention. These results suggest that national yaws eradication programmes may plan the gradual expansion of mass treatment interventions without high short-term risk of reintroduction of infection from contiguous untreated endemic areas.

Foundation calls for urgent intervention, empowerment for persons living with leprosy

Oluwatosin Areo
The Guardian (Nigeria)
National Coordinator, Voice of Humanitarian Aid Foundation (VOHAF), Franca Emekobun, has called for an urgent intervention and renewed commitments to scale up efforts towards eradicating leprosy in the country. This, Emekobun said is due to the increasingly worrisome number of over 3,000 Nigerians officially presenting with new cases of leprosy yearly. Although, the country had been declared leprosy free in 1998, high prevalence rate of the disease is still experienced, report says.

Alpha-v–containing integrins are host receptors for the Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite surface protein, TRAP

Kirsten Dundas et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Malaria is caused by a parasite that is deposited in the skin through the bite of an infected mosquito. From the skin, parasites navigate through host tissues where they must locate and invade liver cells. We know that a parasite surface protein called TRAP is important for this process, making it a leading vaccine candidate. Our research has identified an integrin—a class of host cell surface proteins—as a TRAP receptor. This finding provides an important piece of the puzzle relating to TRAP function and may help improve the development of an effective malaria vaccine.

The town that breeds resistance to Malaria drugs

Robin McKie
The Guardian
Pailin is a small settlement nestling in tropical rainforest near Cambodia’s border with Thailand. It was in this town, in the late 1970s, that the Khmer Rouge set up one of its main strongholds and ruled Cambodia with a ferocity that caused at least two million deaths. But Pailin has another unwanted claim to fame, one that is also associated with widespread death. The town, it transpires, lies at the heart of a region that has seen successive waves of resistance to malaria drugs arise in local people and then spread across the globe. The resulting death tolls can be measured in millions of lives, say scientists.

Uniting for Health Innovation Debuts: After 50 Years, A New Chapter for PAHO Foundation

Jackie Clark
Globe Newswire
PAHO Foundation, the region’s premiere philanthropic health organization working to stem a wide range of public health threats, has transitioned into Uniting for Health Innovation (UfHI), President and CEO Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson announced today. “Public health challenges today are different from those 40 years ago. Not only are issues more intertwined, but resources are more constrained. . . We changed our name to augment our reputation for collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagement. It better reflects what we’ve been doing best for 50 years: bringing a variety of voices to the conversation to improve public health outcomes, save lives and change futures.”

Upcoming Events

GLOBES Scholar Series/Lecture: "The Control of River Blindness: an African Success Story"
April 13, South Bend, Indiana
University of Notre Dame
The GLOBES Scholar Series entails three interdisciplinary talks at the intersection of the environment and society. The series is sponsored by the Environmental Change Initiative, the Eck Institute for Global Health, and the Department of Biological Sciences. The Resh lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. 

Multilateral Initiative on Malaria 
April 15-18, 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.

First Annual Awareness for Onchocerciasis 5K Run/Walk
April 22, Washington, District of Columbia
International Eye Foundation
Get ready to run! Come out to our first annual Awareness for Onchocerciasis (River Blindness) 5K Run/Walk on April 22nd at Anacostia Park, Washington DC.

Re-Imagining Global Health Partnerships in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Era
April 23,  London, UK
Royal Society of Medicine
This half day meeting will gather academics, funders and practitioners from health and development sectors together to discuss how health partnerships can collaborate with and promote inter-disciplinary research.

The 28th Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium
April 26,  Athens, Georgia
Center for Tropical & Emerging Diseases
The Molecular Parasitology/Vector Biology Symposium includes talks from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and leading researchers and concludes with a keynote address by an internationally acclaimed investigator in the field of parasitology or vector biology. Poster sessions and a full lunch are also on the schedule for this free event held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, GA.

Ethically Managing Global Health Fieldwork Risks
April 26-28,  Atlanta, Georgia
Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott College, the Task Force for Global Health, and Emory's Rollin's School of Public Health have partnered together on a workshop entitled "Ethically Managing Global Fieldwork Risks" that will take place at Agnes Scott College. Panelists will include Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, President of Agnes Scott College, Amb. Mary Ann Peters, CEO of The Carter Center, and Dr. Dave Ross, President and CEO of The Task Force for Global Health.  The discussion will be facilitated by Dr. Jim Lavery, Hilton Chair of Global Health Ethics, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.

Epidemic Going Viral: Innovation vs. Nature
April 27,  Live Web Event
Massachussetts Medical Society
Today, every epidemic has the potential of becoming a pandemic with catastrophic implications for globa; health. Epidemics Going Viral: Innovation vs. Nature examines this complex challenge from the perspectives of researchers, clinicians, and others who have first-hand experience dealing with epidemics. This free live web event is presented by the Massachussetts Medical Society, featuring conversations with Bill Gates and Paul Farmer.

8th International Conference of the International Lymphoedema Framework
June 6-9, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The principal topics for the conference will include: clinical diagnosis and assessment, self-management, epidemiology and pathophysiology, lymphoedema management, oncology rehab, national guidelines, outcome measures, and pediatric and primary lymphedema.

Update Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Traveler's Health
June 12-13, New Orleans, Louisiana
American Society for Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
ASTMH has developed this course as an update in the essential components of tropical medicine and traveller's health. This two day meeting is designed for physicians and for all other health care providers working in tropical medicine or traveler's health. Approximately 14.75 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM will be offered for this course.

GAELF10 Meeting
June 13-15, New Delhi, India
The 10th Meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF)

June 25-26, London, UK
ISNTD d3 will bring togther experts from within drug discovery and clinical trials to drive the debate and foster new partnerships & alliances leading to tangible outcomes in terms of new therapies to combat these diseases.

ITI Trachoma Expert Committee Meeting
June 26-28, Atlanta, Georgia
International Trachoma Initiative's Trachoma Expert Committee Meeting is an independent body of internationally recognized experts that meets twice annually to review country applications for donations of Zithromax®. 

Eradicate Malaria World Congress 2018
July 1-5,  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.

NNN 2018 
September 24-26, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
We are delighted to announce the dates for the 9th NNN annual conference, subject to venue availability.

10th Euro-Global Conference on Infectious Diseases
September 27-29, Rome, Italy
Theme: Advancing in science and improving care to prevent infectious diseases.

67th Annual ASTMH Meeting 
October 28 - November 1, New Orleans, Louisiana
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. 

Travel Awards from ASTMH are available for qualified students, early career investigators, and scientists actively working in the field. More information can be found here.

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.