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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. 


Testing for Lymphatic Filariasis

Photo Credit: Billy Weeks


Lymphatic filariasis

Announcing USAID Grant Recipients for Development of New Diagnostics to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases...

The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (a program of the Task Force for Global Health) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announces the recipients of the 2020 Request for Proposals (RFP): Optimizing NTD diagnostics and sampling strategies for low-prevalence settings.

Awardee Spotlight: HEAL Group

Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition
The Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition is proud to spotlight its new research awardees. This week’s spotlight is on the HEAL Group in Nepal. The HEAL Group are facilitating and documenting the collaborative planning phase of campaign integration. ... The campaigns are on Vitamin A supplementation and Lymphatic Filariasis. HEAL Group is collaborating with the Ministry of the Health and several Program Divisions.

After The Ferocious 2nd Covid Wave, Maharashtra To Start Mass Drug Administration Against Lymphatic Filariasis

Arushi Bidhuri
The Health Site
After battling the devastating Covid-19, Maharashtra is making efforts in the fight against Lymphatic Filariasis. . . From July 1 to 15, six districts, namely Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, Bhandara, Gondia, Nanded, and Yavatmal, will conduct an MDA round. Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, and Bhandara will be among the six districts to receive the important triple-drug therapy (IDA).

A mathematical model of the dynamics of lymphatic filariasis in Caraga Region, the Philippines

Pamela Kim N. Salonga, Victoria May P. Mendoza, Renier G. Mendoza and Vicente Y. Belizario
Royal Society Open Science
Despite being one of the first countries to implement mass drug administration (MDA) for elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in 2001 after a pilot study in 2000, the Philippines is yet to eliminate the disease as a public health problem with 6 out of the 46 endemic provinces still implementing MDA for LF as of 2018. In this work, we propose a mathematical model of the transmission dynamics of LF in the Philippines and a control strategy for its elimination using MDA.

Results From 2 Cohort Studies in Central Africa Show That Clearance of Wuchereria bancrofti Infection After Repeated Rounds ...

Jérémy T Campillo et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
After adjusting for age, sex, and initial CFA score, the predicted mean time for clearing CFA was shorter in persons who had taken 2 doses of ALB per year (3.9 years) than in persons who had taken 1 or 0 dose (4.4 and 5.3 years; P < .001 for both). A similar pattern was observed for microfilaremia clearance.


Capture of high numbers of Simulium vectors can be achieved with Host Decoy Traps to support data acquisition ...

Blaise Armand Defo Talom, Peter Enyong, Robert A.Cheke, Rousseau Djouaka and Frances M. Hawkes
Acta Tropica
Vector surveillance will be critical in the move towards onchocerciasis elimination. Host Decoy Traps (HDTs) caught 60 times more Simulium than esperanza window traps. A single infectious Onchocerca species larva was dissected from a sample caught by HDT. HDTs may support onchocerciasis surveillance in elimination campaigns.

Serotonin Levels in the Serum of Persons with Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy: A Case-Control Study

Melissa Krizia Vieri et al.
Serum serotonin levels were significantly decreased in persons with OAE compared to persons with O. volvulus infection and no epilepsy. In conclusion, an increased serotonin level is unable to explain the pathogenesis of OAE.

No Evidence Known Viruses Play a Role in the Pathogenesis of Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy. An Explorative Metagenomic Case

Michael Roach et al.
Anneloviridae, Flaviviridae, Hepadnaviridae (Hepatitis B virus), Herpesviridae, Papillomaviridae, Polyomaviridae (Human polyomavirus), and Virgaviridae were identified in cases and in controls. Not unexpectedly, a variety of bacteriophages were also detected in all cases and controls. However, none of the identified viral sequences were found enriched in OAE cases, which was our criteria for agents that might play a role in the etiology or pathogenesis of OAE.

No Evidence for the Involvement of Leiomodin-1 Antibodies in the Pathogenesis of Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy

An Hotterbeekx et al.
In conclusion, our data do not support OAE to be an autoimmune disorder caused by leiomodin-1 antibodies.

Human immune response against salivary antigens of Simulium damnosum s.l.: A new epidemiological marker ...

Laura Willen et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This study validated for the first time human immunoassays that quantify humoral immune responses as potential markers of exposure to blackfly bites. These assays have the potential to facilitate understanding patterns of exposure as well as evaluating the impact of vector control on biting rates.

Reaching the Criteria to Stop Onchocerciasis Mass Drug Administration: Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda Pave the Way

Upendo Mwingira, Alyssa Jordan, Moses Katabarwa and Frank Richards
NTD Toolbox
To eliminate human onchocerciasis transmission of the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus (OV), endemic countries undertake a multi-step process. . . This brief describes how Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda addressed these steps, providing examples for other country programs working to stop OV MDA.


A 12-year follow-up of intestinal schistosomiasis in pre-school-aged children in Assoni Village, Eastern Senegal

Monique N’Diaye et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
We observed an extremely high prevalence of schistosomiasis (78%) in PSAC [pre-school-aged children] before implementation of the program in 2008. Contamination occurred in very young children, as 64.3% of children under 2 years old were infected. Moreover, prevalence increased with age and reached 96.8% in children 4 to < 6 years old. Our annual interventions in Assoni Village raised awareness among villagers that water bodies were areas of significant infestation, allowed the building of 88 latrines and led to a decrease in prevalence in PSAC as only 11% of these children were infected in 2020.

Evaluation of Artesunate-mefloquine as a Novel Alternative Treatment for Schistosomiasis in African Children (SchistoSAM) ...

Clémentine Roucher et al.
BMJ Open
The SchistoSAM study is an open-label, two-arm, individually-randomised controlled non-inferiority trial. Participants in the control arm receive PZQ at baseline (single dose of 40 mg/kg, as recommended by WHO for the treatment of schistosomiasis), those in the intervention arm receive three courses of AM (4 mg/kg A+8 mg/kg M, once a day for three consecutive days, as used in the fixed-drug WHO-recommended combination treatment of uncomplicated malaria), at baseline and repeated two times at 6-week intervals. . . At the end of the study, all children receive a standard dose of PZQ. This is done in coordination with the National Control Program.

Evaluation of a urogenital schistosomiasis behavioural intervention among students from rural schools in ... Zanzibar

Bobbie Person et al.
Acta Tropica
Children self-reported changes in urogenital schistosomiasis risk taking behaviours. Children self-reported an increase in swallowing anthelmintic drugs during MDA. Rebranding the concept of “worm” to “blood fluke” created a critical perceived health threat. The Health Belief Model was a viable foundation for the behavioural intervention.

Immunological and Biochemical Interplay between Cytokines, Oxidative Stress and Schistosomiasis

Priscilla Masamba and Abidemi Paul Kappo
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
From the host’s standpoint, infection accompanies a plethora of immunological consequences; some are set in place to defend the host, while most end up promoting chronic disease, which ultimately crosses paths with oxidative stress and cancer. Understanding these networks provides attractive opportunities for anti-schistosome therapeutic development. Hence, this review discusses the mechanisms by which schistosomes modulate the human immune response with ultimate links to oxidative stress and genetic instability.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Prevalence of Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Intestinal Protozoa among School Children in Lome, Togo

Monique A. Dorkenoo et al.
Scientific Research
Although a high prevalence of intestinal protozoa was found in our study, the majority were non-pathogenic protozoa and the low prevalence of STH among school-age children in Lomé-commune region confirms that mass drug administration (MDA) is not needed. Children should receive additional education on best hygiene practices.

How qPCR complements the WHO roadmap (2021–2030) for soil-transmitted helminths

Marina Papaiakovou, D. Timothy J. Littlewood, Robin B. Gasser and Roy M. Anderson
London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research
qPCR [Quantitative PCR] can be tailored to complement surveillance and elimination strategies and support programme assessments and screening for resistance. Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) biorepositories (stool and DNA) from different geographical locations are needed to validate any newly developed diagnostics and ensure uniformity in performance amongst laboratories.

Molecular Detection of Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Enteric Protozoa Infection in Children and Its Association ...

Berta Grau-Pujol et al.
Nineteen percent were infected with at least one STH and 77.5% with at least one enteric protozoon. qPCR detected 18.8% of participants with intestinal polyparasitism. Protected or unprotected water well use showed a higher risk for at least one protozoan infection in children (OR: 2.59, CI: 1.01–6.65, p-value = 0.010; OR: 5.21, CI: 1.56–17.46, p-value = 0.010, respectively) compared to household piped water.


How The Gambia beat trachoma, an infection that causes blindness

Musa Mutali
The Print (New Dehli)
A trachoma task force, antibiotics, thousands of health workers, and eye care units have helped The Gambia control one of the most infectious diseases.

Innovative tools to advance trachoma elimination in the context of COVID-19

Scott McPherson, Jude Stern and Simon Bush
Community Eye Health Journal
Collaboration in the development and dissemination of new approaches, tools, and resources for mass drug administration is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research shows impact of Sightsavers’ work on eye health in Mozambique

Mercia Cumaio
Sightsavers has been working to improve eye health services in Mozambique since 2007, helping to restore sight to many thousands of people in the country.

“Trachoma: go! We don’t want you!”

Watch our staff video diaries for a unique, first-hand look at how Sightsavers is tackling trachoma on the remote Bijagos Islands in Guinea-Bissau.


Visceral leishmaniasis case management training conducted for Eritrea, 15-17 June 2021

Africa News
WHO (WCO/ Eritrea, AFRO and HQ) in collaboration with Neglected Tropical Disease NTD prevention & control Unit the Ministry of Health conducted three days virtual training programme for health care providers on diagnosis and case management of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in WHO/ Eritrea Conference room from 15-17 June 2021.

Mass drug administration for endemic scabies: a systematic review

Giulia Rinaldi and Kholoud Porter
Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines
These results suggest MDA is effective in treating scabies in the endemic community. Further evidence is needed surrounding MDA use in urban areas with increased levels of migration.

Kyelem Prize Nominations

The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
COR-NTD once again seeks nominations for the annual Kyelem Prize, named in honor of the late Dominique Kyelem, to an outstanding member of our community. Deadline: Aug. 20.


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

Local production of diagnostics on in low- and middle-income countries
July 8, 2021
World Health Organization, UNDP and FIND

Rising to the challenge: Overcoming challenges to monitoring and evaluating COVID-19 mitigation strategies
July 15, 2021
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

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

International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases
March 6-9, 2022
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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