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Sightsavers Delivers One Billionth Treatment for NTDs & 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.

 1 Billionth Treatment by Sightsavers

Sightsavers' one billionth treatment for NTDs was administered to seven-year-old Dorcas from northern Nigeria.


Lymphatic filariasis

The epidemic you don’t know about

Times of India
It is now pretty certain. India will miss the target date of stamping out elephantiasis or lymphatic filariasis, one of two diseases that it was hoping to eliminate by 2020. The national health policy had aimed at eliminating filariasis by 2015. The deadline was extended to 2017 and now has been shifted to 2020.

Sierra Leone News: Elephantiasis can be prevented

Mohamed J. Bah
According to Vandi Kallon in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, they will be giving out this medicine to people using the direct observation treatment method where people will be given these pills and ensure that they are taken instantly. The Ministry is targeting over a million people across 131 public health units.

Tanzania: Govt Campaign Seeks to Control Elephantiasis

Lydia Shekighenda
All Africa
The government has embarked on a campaign to control Lymphatic Filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, in Dar es Salaam Region through massive drug administration targeting 4.5 million people aged five years and above. The Chief Medical Officer Prof Muhammad Kambi said yesterday in the city that the free massive drug administration in the region will commence on November 28 to December 3, this year.

Differential immunomodulation in human monocytes versus macrophages by filarial cystatin

Gopinath Venugopal, Marion Mueller, Susanne Hartmann and Svenja Steinfelder
This is the first study addressing the contribution of filarial cystatin within microfilariae, which circulate in the blood, to induce IL-10 in monocytes.


Sightsavers and partners celebrate delivering a billion NTD treatments

The billionth treatment was administered on Thursday 16 November to a seven-year-old girl named Dorcas, who was at risk of NTDs in Kudaru, a community in Kaduna State, Nigeria. It was a combined treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (LF) as part of one of Sightsavers’ flagship programmes, UNITED, which is funded by UK aid. This achievement was possible thanks to the support of committed funders, partners and a network of local volunteers, known as community directed distributors (CDDs).

A Decade of Determination: Eliminating River Blindness

Ellen Agler
The Huffington Post
The determination to eliminate another of the world’s most pernicious diseases has spurred the new fund’s supporters to commit to a partnership with clear and common targets that will last for ten years. A decade of determination is the length of time needed to ensure that together they reach the end.

Q&A: What needs to be done to eliminate river blindness in Africa

Elizabeth Dickinson
Now [Frank] Richards sees elimination in sight. Drawing on the lessons from successful past eradication, his long-term expertise in helping orchestrate a drug donation program from pharmaceutical company Merck, and the political and financial push announced in Abu Dhabi, he told Devex how a successful last mile push could look.

Progress report on the elimination of human onchocerciasis

World Health Organization
An estimated 198 million people live in areas where they are at risk for onchocerciasis... In 2005, 46 million people received treatment at least once for onchocerciasis in the 3 endemic regions. This number has increased each year, and a reported 132.7 million people received treatment at least once in 2016.


Schistosomiasis in the first 1000 days

Joseph B. Freer et al.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
We evaluate the evidence that early schistosomiasis has adverse effects on birth, growth, and development. We also discuss the case for expanding public health interventions for schistosomiasis in women of reproductive age and preschool-age children, and the need for further research to evaluate the potential of treating women pre-conception to maximise health across the life course.

Small Grants, Big Impact: Dr. Joy Chikwendu, Makurdi, Nigeria

MacKenzie Bates
"I think that better understanding of the genetics of the Schistosoma parasite in Nigeria is expected to affect control strategies especially if the current strategy is proven not to be as effective against the hybrid (if present). Also, if Schistosoma hybrids exist in Nigeria, they may not be widespread in the country in terms of their epidemiology, and so strategic control could be devised aimed at curtailing them early on." - Joy Chikwendu

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Investment in child and adolescent health and development: key messages from Disease Control Priorities, 3rd Edition

Donald Bundy et al.
The Lancet
In endemic areas, regular deworming (following WHO guidelines) can be done inexpensively in schools since most deworming drugs are donated; benefits in school attendance has been reported as a result.


Reaching remote Amazonian communities to eliminate trachoma

Julian Trujillo, Tim Jesudason and Girija Sankar
Community Eye Health Journal
The remoteness of these communities often means they have limited access to formal health care services, which makes trachoma elimination very challenging. However, extraordinary new efforts by Colombian health authorities to tackle trachoma have shown that great progress can be made if there are adequate resources, co-ordination and local engagement.

How field surveys can help us fight trachoma

Ruth Dixon
In February this year, a team from Sightsavers travelled to Africa to support our partners (including Helen Keller International, the Carter Center, WaterAid and Simavi) with the sizeable task of conducting field surveys for the infectious eye disease trachoma in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania.


World Toilet Day: Importance of Preventing Sanitation-Associated Infectious Diseases

Kristi Rosaa
Contagion Live
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that inadequate sanitation causes about 280,000 diarrhea-related deaths each year. In fact, a lack of sanitation is a key player when it comes to several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, trachoma, and schistosomiasis—a snail-borne parasitic disease that is endemic in tropical and subtropical countries.

Feeding Programme, Health Ministry To Deworm Pupils In 17 States — Official

Donald Ugwu
Sundiata Post
The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health to deliver an integrated de-worming programme for pupils in public primary schools, a statement has said. Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, said in the statement on Monday that pupils in 17 states currently under the NHGSFP would benefit...He said that three different drugs would be delivered for the treatment of diseases endemic to specific states, particularly schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths and river blindness/onchocerciasis.

Newly Arrived African Migrants to Spain: Epidemiology and Burden Disease

Joaquín Salas-Coronas et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The aim of this study is to describe the epidemiological profile, clinical characteristics, and microbiological findings in African immigrants newly arrived to Spain attended at a specialized reference unit from October 2004 to February 2017. A common protocol for the screening of imported and cosmopolitan diseases was designed to evaluate patients with ≤ 12 months of stay in Spain. A total of 523 patients were included in the study, 488 (93.3%) of sub-Saharan origin. A high number of helminthic infections were diagnosed in sub-Saharan patients, including geohelminthiasis (hookworms 14.3%; Trichuris trichiura 4.1%; Ascaris lumbricoides 3.1%), schistosomiasis (12.3%), strongyloidiasis (17.2%), and filariasis (8.4%).

US Gulf Coast states: The rise of neglected tropical diseases in "flyover nation"

Peter J. Hotez and Sheila Jackson Lee
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Further analysis reveals that the US Gulf Coast is not only vulnerable to Zika but also to a range of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). NTDs are illnesses that impact disproportionately in impoverished populations and actually perpetuate poverty because of chronic, deleterious effects on wage-earning and productivity and maternal and child health and development.


Experimental and Clinical Treatment of Chagas Disease: A Review

Policarpo Ademar Sales Junior
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Here, we review the drugs currently used for [Chagas disease, or] CD chemotherapy, ongoing clinical assays, and most-promising new experimental drugs. In addition, the mechanism of action of the commercially available drugs, [nifurtimox, or] NFX and [benznidazole, or] BZ, the biodistribution of the latter, and the potential for novel formulations of BZ based on nanotechnology are discussed. Taken together, the literature emphasizes the urgent need for new therapies for acute and chronic CD.

Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis in the Indian subcontinent: A threat to the South-East Asia Region Kala-azar Elimination...

Eduard E. Zijlstra, Fabiana Alves, Suman Rijal, Byron Arana and Jorge Alvar
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
[Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis, or] PKDL is a heterogeneous and dynamic condition, and patients differ with regard to time of onset after [visceral leishmaniasis, or VL], chronicity, and distribution and appearance of the rash, as well as immune responses (including tendency to self-heal), all of which may vary over time. It is essential to fully describe the pathophysiology in order to make informed decisions on the most cost-effective approach.

WHO delays guinea-worm disease eradication to 2020: are dogs the sole culprits?

M. Teresa Galán-Puchades
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Dogs have long been established as a reservoir of guinea-worm disease; however, the considerable increase in the number of infected dogs in Chad, specifically in 2015, indicates that dogs might have spread the worms to human beings.

Ivermectin susceptibility, sporontocidal effect, and inhibition of time to re-feed in the Amazonian malaria vector An. darlingi

Kevin C. Kobylinski et al.
Malaria Journal
Ivermectin is lethal to An. darlingi, modestly inhibits sporogony of P. vivax, and delays time to re-feed at concentrations found in humans up to 12 h post drug ingestion. The LC50 value suggests that a higher than standard dose (400-μg/kg) is necessary to target An. darlingi. These results suggest that ivermectin MDA has potential in the Amazon region to aid malaria elimination efforts.

Factors influencing the use of malaria prevention strategies by women in Senegal

Mouhamed Abdou Salam Mbengue et al.
Malaria Journal
In this study, the effect of different variables on the uptake of malaria prevention methods (intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, or IPTp, and insecticide-treated nets, or ITNs) were investigated from a nationally representative dataset. The results of this study show that less than half (< 50%) of women with a recent pregnancy reported use of both IPTp and ITNs during their last pregnancy and nearly half of the participants reported partial use (either IPTp or ITNs) during their last pregnancy.

Fatty molecule in human blood controls malaria parasites' decision to leap to mosquitoes

Stephanie Dutchen
Depletion of a fatty molecule in human blood propels malaria parasites to stop replicating and causing illness in people and instead to jump ship to mosquitoes to continue the transmission cycle, according to a new study by an international research team.

Drug used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective for Zika virus

A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective for Zika virus. The drug, called chloroquine, has a long history of safe use during pregnancy, and is relatively inexpensive.

Nearly 21 Million Now Receiving AIDS Drugs, U.N. Agency Says

Donald G. McNeil Jr.
The New York Times
Almost 21 million people around the world are now getting life-prolonging AIDS drugs, according to a report issued Monday. But another 16 million people infected with H.I.V. are not yet on medication.

Dr. Mwele N. Malecela and Prof. David H. Molyneux Win Kyelem Prize for Contributions in the Fight against NTDs

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
“The individuals together represent an element essential to the success of the neglected tropical disease community – and that is the tight linkage between program implementers and academic researchers,” said Eric Ottesen, director of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, which serves as COR-NTD Secretariat. “In addition to that intangible element, the outstanding individual contributions of Drs. Malecela and Molyneux exemplify the very special qualities of the late Dr. Kyelem’s – competence, effectiveness, collegiality, sincerity, determination and unquenchable optimism.”

Upcoming Events

ISNTD Water 2017
November 23, 2017 London, UK 
Natural History Museum
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Helminth Infection - From Transmission to Control
December 7-8, Basel, Switzerland
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December 10
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Dec. 12-14 2017 Tokyo, Japan
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April 3-5, 2018, Washington, DC
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Multilateral Initiative on Malaria 
April 15-18, 2018, Dakar, Senegal
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Eradicate Malaria World Congress 2018
July 1-5, 2018, 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.