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Transmission of Onchocerciasis Interrupted in Two States in Nigeria & 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.

Transmission of River Blindness Interrupted in Two States in Nigeria & Other NTD News


Lymphatic filariasis

Multiplex serology for impact evaluation of bed net distribution on burden of lymphatic filariasis human malaria in Mozambique

Mateusz M. Plucinski et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Universal coverage with long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) is a primary control strategy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria. However, its impact on the three other main species of human malaria and lymphatic filariasis (LF), which share the same vectors in many co-endemic areas, is not as well characterized. The recent development of multiplex antibody detection provides the opportunity for simultaneous evaluation of the impact of control measures on the burden of multiple diseases.

22 Lakh Residents to be Covered with Filarial Immunization

Ashis Sinha
The Pioneer [India]
Aiming to eliminate filarial ailments, a three day ‘Mass Drug Administration’ (MDA) program was launched across Bokaro district on March 22. The program aims to administer DEC tablets to 85 percent of the district's population (about 22 lakhs or 21,08,961 patients) by March 24.


Two States in Nigeria Interrupt Transmission of River Blindness

Emily Staub
The Carter Center
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health has interrupted transmission of river blindness in two large states and as a result will stop mass drug administration (MDA) of ivermectin (Mectizan®) in 2018 . . . “River blindness has burdened Nigerians since the days of our ancestors,” said Professor Isaac Adewole, honorable minister of health for Nigeria. “With the support of The Carter Center and other important partners, we are lifting this burden."

Plateau, Nasarawa interrupt river blindness

Judd-Leonard Okafor
Daily Trust [Nigeria]
The decision to stop mass drug administration of ivermectin came after over 6,000 people and 18,000 black flies—which transmit river blindness—were tested and found free of the infection . . . Yao Sodahlon, director of the Mectizan Donation Programme, called the interruption “an unprecedented historical moment” in elimination of river blindness. “This will be not only a first for Nigeria,” Sodahlon said. “It is the largest ‘stop MDA decision’ in the history of the struggle against onchocerciasis [or river blindness].”


Surveillance of intestinal schistosomiasis: a comparison of four diagnostic tests across five Ugandan primary schools

Hajri Al-Shehri et al.
Programmatic surveillance of intestinal schistosomiasis during control can typically use four diagnostic tests, either singularly or in combination . . . A cross-comparison of diagnostic sensitivities, specificities, positive and negative predictive values was undertaken, inclusive of a latent class analysis (LCA) with a LCA-model estimate of prevalence by each of the five schools.

Urinary schistosomiasis among basic school children in a new irrigated sugar scheme area, White Nile State, Sudan

Abdelhakam G Tamomh, Adam D Abakr and Bakri YM Nour
Journal of Microbiology & Experimentation
A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Urinary Schistosomiasis in selected basic schools in the White Nile Sugar Scheme in White Nile State, Sudan. The findings of this study indicate that the prevalence of urinary Schistosomiasis in the study area was 11.3 percent. The prevalence of Urinary Schistosomiasis was higher among boys than girls in the study areas, and the age group (9-12) years was the most affected with a prevalence of 55.6 percent.

Schistosomiasis Presenting as Recurring Sigmoid Volvulus in a Danish Man with an Inconspicuous Travel History – A Case Report

Asger D Krog, Johanna M Axelsson, Anna-Louise R Bondgaard and Jørgen A Kurtzhals
Open Forum Infectious Diseases
A healthy 72-year-old Danish male presenting with recurring sigmoid volvulus was found to be infested with Schistosoma mansoni. This is the first reported case of recurrent sigmoid volvulus and suffering from chronic intestinal schistosomiasis in a patient from a non-endemic area.

The menace of schistosomiasis on a Nigerian community (Part 2)

Adie Vanessa Offiong
Daily Trust [Nigeria]
In this concluding part of Daily Trust story on how a community is dealing with the menace of schistosomiasis, as a result of lack of pipe borne water and its primary dependence on the River Eku infested with bilharzias worms, Adie Vanessa Offiong reports on new findings from a cross sectional study conducted on randomly selected participants in the community, water analysis carried out on sample drawn from the river, as well as on insufficient budgetary allocation for water supply.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Novel blood-feeding detox pathway in Nippostrongylus brasiliensis L3 reveals potential checkpoint for arresting worm development

Tiffany Bouchery et al.
PLOS Pathogens
As part of on-going efforts to control hookworm infection, the “human hookworm vaccine initiative” has recognised blood feeding as a feasible therapeutic target for inducing immunity against hookworm infection. Using a rodent parasite model, the authors describe a new haem detoxification pathway that is a metabolic checkpoint for parasite development, survival and reproduction. This provides a starting point for the development of novel therapies against such metazoan blood-feeders.

Correlation between iron deficiency anemia and intestinal parasitic infection in school-age children in Medan

D M Darlan et al.
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a correlation between iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and parasitic intestinal infection generally and protozoa infection particularly among school-age children in Medan. The results showed children with parasitic and protozoa infections mainly had the higher percentage of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) than non-infected group, but also that this correlation was not statistically significant.

Involvement of Hookworm Co-Infection in the Pathogenesis and Progression of Podoconiosis: Possible Immunological Mechanism

Damilare O. Famakinde and Adedotun A. Adenusi
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
In this paper, the authors elaborate on the immunopathogenesis of podoconiosis and examine the possible immunological dynamics of hookworm co-infection in the immunopathology of podoconiosis, with a view toward improved management of the disease that will facilitate its feasible elimination.


Evaluation of the reproducibility of a serological test for antibodies to Chlamydia trachomatis pgp3

Hemjot Kaur et al.
Journal of Microbiological Methods
In this study, the research team tested the reproducibility of a serologic test for C. trachomatis pgp3 in 6 dried blood spots collected from a random sample of 45 children from a trachoma endemic area, and found that reproducibility was high when the same bead set is used for testing.

Urine metabolome in women with Chlamydia trachomatis infection

Claudio Foschi et al.
The aim of this study was to characterize the urine metabolome of women with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) uro-genital infection (n = 21), comparing it with a group of CT-negative subjects (n = 98). By means of a proton-based nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy, we detected and quantified the urine metabolites of a cohort of 119 pre-menopausal Caucasian women, attending a STI Outpatients Clinic in Italy.

Making gains sustainable: Partnering with WASH to stop the transmission of trachoma

Helen Hamilton, Leah Wohlgemuth and Tim Jesudason
International Coalition for Trachoma Control
Partnering with the WASH sector and scaling up activities will not only put the trachoma community on the path to achieve global elimination, but also help the world achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, with no one left behind.

Latent class modeling to compare testing platforms for detection of antibodies against the Chlamydia trachomatis antigen Pgp3

Ryan Wiegand et al.
Scientific Reports
Sensitivity and specificity estimates from the best fitting latent class models were similar to estimates derived from those previously obtained using a nucleic acid amplification test as a gold standard for sensitivity and non-endemic pediatric specimens for specificity, although the estimates from latent class models had wider confidence intervals.


India's Neglected Tropical Diseases

Peter J. Hotez, Ashish Damania
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Today, the nation of India experiences the world’s largest absolute burden of at least 11 major NTDs. If the global community could focus on India’s NTD problem and make inroads, it would substantially reduce the burden of poverty-related neglected diseases. Therefore, focusing on this single nation could dramatically advance the global health agenda.

NTDs Added to African Leaders Malaria Alliance Scorecard

M. J. Friedrich
African leaders added neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to the African Leaders Malaria Alliance’s (ALMA’s) annual scorecard on disease progress during the 30th Anniversary of the African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Specific treatment targets for each of the 5 NTDs have also been set.

UGA researchers battle neglected diseases around globe

Leigh Beeson
UGA Today
Founded 20 years ago by Regents Professor of Cellular Biology Rick Tarleton, UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (CTEGD) consolidates the university's extensive, campus-wide tropical disease knowledge and drug discovery expertise into an interdisciplinary research unit that focuses on finding solutions for parasitic diseases. The center has garnered more than $135 million in research funding, and its 25 faculty, spanning eight departments across four colleges and schools, focus on more than a dozen diseases commonly associated with poverty.

Africa: WHO Chief Message on Guinea Worm & Carter Center Health Services

Tedros Adhanom
World Health Organization (Geneva)
The transcript of a message from the WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to the Carter Center . . . "Together we're helping to bring guinea-worm disease closer to eradication, saving lives and preventing suffering. . . Despite the progress we have made, neglected tropical diseases continue to cost developing economies billions of dollars annually in lost productivity and reduced global prosperity. The main reason we are still struggling against these diseases is because we have failed to achieve universal health coverage."

With DFID Funding, Researchers Focus on Social Science to Address Neglected Tropical Diseases

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
Today, the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) announced three newly funded projects that will utilize social science approaches to accelerate the elimination of neglected tropical diseases. The studies – with funding from the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) – aim to promote equitable access to mass drug administration (MDA) in Indonesia, Kenya, and Tanzania.


Unaffordable: When poverty defines health

Eleni Helbling
Fair Med
Despite a variety of free-of-charge, state-covered health services, the majority of healthcare spending is funded by patients through so-called ‘out-of-pocket payments.’ Recent studies from India and Cameroon have measured the health expenditure of people suffering from the neglected tropical diseases leprosy and podoconiosis, with an emphasis on the first-hand experiences of the patients themselves. The striking results underline how inequality in access to healthcare is a very real problem.

Unusual blood clots may aid in early detection of leprosy

Avren Keating
PLOS Research News
For years, doctors have observed that some patients with leprosy develop unusual blood clots that can lead to stroke or heart attack. In a new article published with PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Flavio Alves Lara of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute and colleagues have for the first time characterized these blood clots. Their findings lead to a new understanding of how leprosy affects the circulatory system and potential new screening tests to detect leprosy sooner.

'Amazing' News About the Awful Guinea Worm

Michaeleen Doucleff
Scratch another Guinea worm hot spot off the list. One of the countries hardest hit with the parasite — South Sudan — has finally stopped transmission, the Carter Center announced Wednesday. "I come from an area that had the most Guinea worm," South Sudan's Minister of Health, Dr. Riek Gai Kok, said at a news conference. "I never thought — even one time — that the area would be free of Guinea worm, let alone all of South Sudan would be . . . but today that dream has come true"

Q&A: How South Sudan stopped Guinea worm disease in its tracks

Gloria Pallares
Speaking to Devex, Associate Director of The Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program Adam Weiss talked about the keys to ending transmission in an unstable and low-resource environment; and what it will take to maintain the success. As the campaign strives for the finish line, he also discussed the biggest challenges, and how its approach can inspire efforts in global health and beyond.

DNDi, GlaxoSmithKline, and University of Dundee to identify drug candidates to treat leishmaniasis and Chagas disease

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
The not-for-profit research and development organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) will collaborate with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the University of Dundee Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), in a bid to discover new pre-clinical drug candidates targeting two parasitic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. “This agreement will be a boost to our long-term strategy to develop entirely new chemical entities to treat neglected diseases and provide better treatment options for patients," says DNDi Director of Drug Discovery, Charles Mowbray.

Risk factors and prediction analysis of cutaneous leishmaniasis due to Leishmania tropica in Southwestern Morocco

Mohamed Mahmoud Mohamed El Alem et al.
Infection, Genetics and Evolution
Cutaneous leishmaniasis is currently a serious public health problem in northern Africa, especially in Morocco. The objective of the present study is to characterize the causative organisms and to predict the risk of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) cases in six provinces in southwestern Morocco, based on the spatial distribution of cases in relation to environmental factors and other risk factors such as socio-economic status and demographics.

Strong political will is an urgent need of the hour to treat Kala azar in India

Doctors Without Borders India
Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL; also known as kala-azar) is endemic to the Indian state of Bihar, where HIV/AIDS is emerging. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is now focusing on treating people who are suffering from VL/HIV co-infection, a niche cohort of patients who may be Kala azar (VL)/HIV co-infection.

UK to grow malaria-fighting plants

Jeff Franklin
UK Ag News
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment researchers will grow the malaria-fighting plant Artemisia annua, as part of a cooperative agreement with the German company ArtemiFlow. UK’s portion of the project will be led by researchers with the Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center. The ultimate goal is to identify lines with high levels of artemisinin and use them to develop a new crop opportunity for Kentucky farmers.

Newly discovered antibodies 'nip' malaria in the bud

Science Daily
A Swiss team of researchers from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), affiliated to the Università della Svizzera italiana, and from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (SwissTPH), associated Institute of the University of Basel, has discovered a new class of antibodies that potently block malaria parasites in the initial phase of the infection thus, conferring a sterilizing immunity. These antibodies bind to the surface of the sporozoites, the infectious form of the malaria parasite which is injected into the blood by the mosquito.

Newly Described Human Antibody Prevents Malaria in Mice

Anne A. Oplinger
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
The research team isolated the antibody, called CIS43, from the blood of a volunteer who had received an experimental vaccine made from whole, weakened malaria parasites (PfSPZ Vaccine-Sanaria). The volunteer was later exposed to infectious malaria-carrying mosquitoes under carefully controlled conditions and did not become infected. In two different models of malaria infection in mice, CIS43 was highly effective at preventing malaria infection. If confirmed through additional studies in people, CIS43 could be developed as a prophylactic measure to prevent infection for several months after administration, the researchers say.

Malaria's most wanted: Identifying the deadliest strains to design a childhood vaccine

University of Melbourne
Researchers have identified a 'genetic fingerprint' associated with the most deadly strains of malaria parasites, making these unique DNA regions potential targets for vaccine development. An international research team led by the University of Melbourne found a small group of proteins was associated with the most severe strains of malarial infections, which are often fatal in young children who have not yet had a chance to develop a strong immune response to the parasite.

Upcoming Events

World Vaccine Washington
April 3-5, Washington, DC
Make sure you are at the forefront of the vaccines industry. No matter where your interest lies, we have content, networking and potential partners for you. By bringing eight events together under one roof, you get to choose the sessions which are the most applicable to help your business plan for the future of vaccine research, development and manufacture.

World Health Day
April 7
United Nations
This year's Wold Health Day theme will be "Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere." At least half of the world's people is currently unable to obtain essential health services. "Universal health coverage" is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.

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.

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.

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.

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.