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U.K. Government Issues NTD Indicator, NTDs to Share the Stage with Beyoncé & 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.

Humphrey Paper

Community health workers in the intervention arms taking height of the study participant to decide on the number of praziquantel pills to prescribe to participant after diagnosis at Kome Island, north-western Tanzania 

Lymphatic filariasis

DOH-CALABARZON declares Quezon province as Filaria free

Philippine Information Agency
Department of Health-Region-4A CALABARZON recently declared the province of Quezon as “Filaria Free” during the regional awarding for National Filariasis Elimination Program (NFEP) held at the Quezon Convention Center here. “The health sector has achieved another victory in its fight against Filariasis. Still we have to ensure that this status will be maintained through regular conduct of orientation for Filariasis detection and management and transmission assessment survey.” said Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo during the award ceremony.

40% of the global burden of Lymphatic Filariasis is shared by India : Prof. Dr Suma Krishnasastry

Shahid Akhter
Globally, there are 120 million people affected by [lymphatic filariasis, or] LF disease, it includes symptomatic microfilaria patients with lymphedema and hydrocele. And 40% of global burden of 120 million people is in India . . . India is a big country and each state have their own challenges and their own problems, so you cannot say that it’s a uniform process which has happened but in almost all the states there is reduction in the population with microfilaria, so that part is going to be a success.

Homoeopathic treatment vs. standard allopathy treatment for acute adenolymphangitis due to lymphatic filariasis

Jaya Gupta et al.
Indian Journal of Research in Homeopathy
The primary objective of the study was to compare the effectiveness of homoeopathic treatment with standard allopathic regimen in acute [adenolymphangitis, or] ADL and secondary objective was to assess the reduction in frequency, duration and intensity of subsequent attacks, improvement of the quality of life of patients.

Mapping to Integrate Filariasis and Onchocerciasis Control with Malaria Interventions

William R Breiger and Gilbert Burnham
Tropical Health Matters
Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) and Malaria share a common vector in sub-Saharan Africa. Mass Drug Administration (MDA) is a strategy that is common to both diseases. Where the diseases overlap there is the potential opportunity to coordinate both vector control and MDA to achieve synergy in program results. The example of Burkina Faso, supplemented with information from Ghana, serves as an example of what could be integrated and what actually happens.


Is onchocerciasis elimination in Africa feasible by 2025: a perspective based on lessons learnt from the African control program

Yankum Dadzie, Uche V. Amazigo, Boakye A. Boatin and Azodoga Sékétéli
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Onchocerciasis is found predominantly in Africa where large scale vector control started in 1974. Registration and donation of ivermectin by Merck & Co in 1987 enabled mass treatment with ivermectin in all endemic countries in Africa and the Americas. Although elimination of onchocerciasis with ivermectin was considered feasible only in the Americas, recently it has been shown possible in Africa too, necessitating fundamental changes in technical and operational approaches and procedures.


Schistosomiasis in Africa: Improving strategies for long-term and sustainable morbidity control

Michael D. French et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Considerable financial and human resources and long-term political commitment will likely be needed to achieve elimination of schistosomiasis transmission in Africa . . . Therefore, while elimination of transmission rightly remains the aspirational, long-term goal, we recommend taking this opportunity to refocus on strategic investments in long-term morbidity control. We recommend that evidence-based schistosomiasis control program targets be developed that maximize resources and limit the morbidity caused by infection until country-specific shifts to elimination become feasible.

Integrating use of point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen rapid diagnostic tests by community health workers. . .

Humphrey D. Mazigo, John H. Amuasi, Isaac Osei and Safari M. Kinung'hi
BMC Public Health
This study is conducted to assess the feasibility and acceptability of integrating point-of-care Circulating Cathodic Antigen (POC-CCA) test to community-based directed MDA in improving treatment coverage and compliance with treatment among adults. The introduction of a diagnostic component in the community-based MDA exercise is expected to improve the uptake of praziquantel drugs among adult individuals. This will have a positive impact by reducing the risk of transmission of the disease.

Stem cell study brings scientists closer to understanding schistosomiasis

Sally Robertson
News Medical
Currently, the only treatment used to combat schistosomiasis is effective at killing adult worms, but not effective at killing the parasite during other stages of its life cycle. Now, Professor Phillip Newmark and colleagues have characterized certain stem cells that control the parasite’s life cycle and identified a gene linked to the earliest developmental stage of the germline.

Capacity gaps in health facilities for case management of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in Burundi

Paul Bizimana et al.
Infectious Diseases of Poverty
The current capacity of [health facilities, or] HF for intestinal schistosomiasis and [soil-transmitted helminthiasis, or] STH detection and management is inadequate. Treatment was not available for schistosomiasis. These issues need to be addressed to create an enabling environment for successful integration of intestinal schistosomiasis and STH case management into HF routine activities in Burundi for better control of these diseases.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

World-first live hookworm vaccine for humans could be first step to eradication

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
A Queensland scientist has developed the first ever live vaccine against hookworm, a parasitic disease that causes anaemia in children and pregnant women in many developing countries. Fifteen Queenslanders are taking part in the world-first human trial of the live hookworm vaccine, which is underway in Q-Pharm Pty Ltd at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

The rural South’s invisible public health crisis

Lyndsey Gilpin
Many communities from the Black Belt to Appalachia lack basic sewage and water infrastructure. In economically distressed regions like Lowndes County, it’s led to a surge in poverty-related tropical diseases often found in developing countries. Doctors and researchers have observed significant levels of parasitic infections like hookworm and toxocara and conditions for mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika and West Nile.


Foundation Carries Out 100,000th Trachoma Surgery In Ethiopia

New Business Ethiopia
International development organization the Fred Hollows Foundation, in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia and the Oromia Regional Health Bureau, has carried out its 100,000th trachomatous trichiasis surgery in the Oromia region. “When The Fred Hollows Foundation started work in Oromia about four years ago there were 150,000 people desperately waiting for surgery. We have made massive inroads into the problem and will continue our efforts to ensure everyone who needs surgery gets it and that together we eliminate trachoma in Ethiopia,” said Acting Country Director Dr. Zelalem Habtamu.

Advancing the public health applications of Chlamydia trachomatis serology

Sarah C. Woodhall et al.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
Genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection. Trachoma is caused by ocular infection with C trachomatis and is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. New serological assays for C trachomatis could facilitate improved understanding of C trachomatis epidemiology and prevention. Serological assays have potential as epidemiological tools to quantify unmet need, inform service planning, evaluate interventions including screening and treatment, and to assess new vaccine candidates.

#EyeCareEverywhere Photo Competition 2018 is live!

IAPB, with support from Bayer, is back with its fourth online photo competition on the theme “Eye Care Everywhere” ending on World Sight Day (11 October 2018). Prizes include a DSLR camera and a cash prize!


Single Departmental Plan - Results Achieved by Sector in 2017

U.K Department for International Development
In 2017 out of the total people reached by DFID’s NTD interventions, 98% received preventative chemotherapy, 0.1% morbidity management, 0.01% curative treatment, and 2% other types of preventative measure.

WHO redoubles efforts to ‘leave no one behind’ in treatment of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Charity Warington
World Health Organization Nigeria
The World Health Organization (WHO) has significantly increased support to the Government of Nigeria towards elimination of five of the over 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) endemic in the country due to her tropical nature. WHO is working with partners including UNICEF, the Carter Center, Sight Savers, Research Triangle International and Seventeen Plus Foundation among others. This partnership is supporting government towards safe water supply, education and disease awareness as well as building capacities for behaviour change and training health workers to recognize and report suspected cases.

WHO urges sensitization against neglected diseases

Ojoma Akor
The Daily Trust (Nigeria)
The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Wondimagegnehu Alemu, in a statement yesterday, said there still existed traditional myths attributing NTDs to witchcraft or punishment from God, adding that uptake of the freely provided medicines was suboptimal in some areas. “As such, they do not seek medical assistance and continue to suffer severe disfigurement and disabilities, this impacts negatively on life expectancy, education and economic opportunities of affected individuals and the communities they live in,” Alemu said.

Sightsavers Donates 24 Motorcycles To Benue Community Workers

Hembadoon Orsar
Leadership (Nigeria)
Sightsavers, the implementation partners of Benue State Ministry of Health and Human Services, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Control and Elimination Programme, has donated 24 motorcycles to local government NTDs coordinators to ease their movement to hard reach areas in the 23 local government areas including the state capital.

Drug Development For Neglected Diseases Has Stagnated

Joshua Cohen
There’s good news on neglected diseases. Donors of diagnostics and medications – governments, philanthropies, public-private partnerships, pharmaceutical industry - are fulfilling the obligations laid out in the 2012 London Declaration . . . But elsewhere progress has been limited. Except for a temporary infusion of additional funding for treatments and vaccines targeting Ebola and other African viral haemorrhagic fevers, resources allocated to drug development targeting neglected diseases have been stagnant since 2009.

Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ed Sheeran, Tiwa Savage, Cassper Nyovest to Headline Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100 in South Africa

Global Citizen
The actions Global Citizens will take to earn their free tickets will be focused on ending hunger and increasing access to good nutrition for adolescent girls, ending neglected tropical diseases, reducing HIV/AIDS transmission rates, ensuring every child receives a quality education, leveling the law by reforming and repealing sexist laws, providing funding for women’s health and family planning, and ensuring access to clean water and safe sanitation world wide.

‘Laser-sharp focus’ needed to achieve Global Goals by 2030, UN political forum told

UN News
Progress has been made on achieving global goals to end poverty and hunger but meeting the targets by the deadline of 2030 will require a laser-sharp focus and a true sense of urgency, a key United Nations forum on sustainable development heard on Monday. “We have only 12 more years to fully realize this transformative agenda, but these goals are absolutely within our reach,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, in his opening remarks. “It will require policy makers’ unwavering attention, a laser-sharp focus on implementation of these goals, and a true sense of urgency,” he added.

Thirty African scientists funded to conduct implementation research

TDR with the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) have announced 30 small grant awards to scientists from across Africa for implementation research on infectious diseases of poverty. This is the first time the partners have released a joint call for grants that will reach such a broad group of researchers, which includes an equal number of women and men. Scientists will collaborate with national disease programmes in 15 countries to examine how to more effectively deliver health interventions to prevent, diagnose and treat a range of diseases.


India should repeal laws that discriminate against leprosy patients, says supreme court

Ben Farmer
The Telegraph (UK)
India should work to repeal harsh Raj-era laws that outcast leprosy patients and bar them from normal society, the country's supreme court has said. The supreme court comments mark the latest step in a long-running campaign to repeal a tangle of at least 119 archaic central and state laws discriminating against those with the disease. Under the laws, sufferers can be segregated and barred from work, travel or education, while the disease is also judged as valid grounds for divorce.

Researchers Halt the Deadly Fly That Causes Sleeping Sickness in Its Tracks

Bringham Young University
Laboratory Equipment
Sixty million people in sub-Saharan Africa live at risk of African sleeping sickness, a disease caused by parasites transmitted through the tsetse fly. Ken Christensen, a Brigham Young University chemistry professor, along with students and collaborators at Clemson University, have developed an innovative technique using biosensors to monitor the glucose level of Trypanasoma brucei parasites. The technique could in turn help develop treatments for the sleeping sickness. "The unique thing about the T. brucei parasite is that it relies on host glucose for survival," Christensen said. "We know that if you could deprive the parasites in the blood stream of glucose, the parasite will die."

What happened to Zika?

Amanda Grennell
PBS News Hour
The urgency to fight Zika reached a fever pitch two summers ago when a massive outbreak struck South and Central America and the Caribbean causing more than half a million suspected cases and more than 3,700 congenital birth defects . . . But then last summer, the virus declined sharply in its hotspots and all but disappeared in the U.S. Fast forward to summer 2018. Now that the weather is warm and mosquitoes are out, how much do we need to worry about Zika? Should we factor it into our summer travels? Here’s a guide to help you out.

Pregnancy Loss Occurs in 26 Percent of Zika-Infected Monkeys

Jennifer Routh
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Fetal death in utero occurred in more than one-fourth of monkeys infected in the laboratory with Zika virus in early pregnancy, according to new research published in Nature Medicine. The finding raises the concern that Zika virus-associated pregnancy loss in humans may be more common than currently thought, according to the study authors.

A well-known animal health drug could stop outbreaks of malaria and Zika virus

The Scripps Research Institute
Medicines given to household pets to kill fleas and ticks might be effective for preventing outbreaks of malaria, Zika fever and other dangerous insect-borne diseases that infect millions of people worldwide, according to a new study led by scientists at Calibr, a non-profit drug discovery institute closely affiliated with Scripps Research and TropIQ Health Sciences, a Dutch social enterprise.

In a Rare Success, Paraguay Conquers Malaria

Emily Baumgaertner
The New York Times
Paraguay has eliminated malaria, the first country in the Americas to do so in almost 50 years, according to the World Health Organization. But worldwide, momentum against the disease has stalled. Malaria cases increased by five million between 2015 and 2016, climbing to 216 million from 211 million.

[VIDEO] Professor John Reeder, World Health Organization, MWC2018

Burnet Institute
Professor John Reeder, World Health Organization discusses the landmark Malaria World Congress in Australia.

Dams are a breeding ground for mosquitoes – to eradicate malaria, we must rethink their design

Claudia Sadoff
The Telegraph (UK)
Much excitement exists around vaccines and new genetic manipulation methods. But participants also need to consider a significant but neglected opportunity to help defeat malaria: the way we design and operate dams.

How drones are being used in the fight against malaria

Michelle Stanton and Chistopher Jones
Independent (UK)
A new project in Malawi aims to combat one of Africa’s most devastating diseases, using a mix of high-tech and low-tech ‘bucket-and-spade’ science. Kasungu, a small town at the base of the picturesque Kasungu Mountain, is the centre of Africa’s first humanitarian drone testing corridor. Set up by Unicef in 2017 with support from the Malawi government, the corridor is an 80km-wide area for flying and testing drones to help the local people.

Where should we test new mosquito control options?

Christina Faust
Populations of mosquitoes in the Sesse Islands in Uganda offer an ideal place to test new intervention strategies.

Trial wipes out more than 80 per cent of disease-spreading mozzie

Asaesja Young
In an international partnership between CSIRO, Verily and James Cook University, scientists used specialised technology to release millions of sterilised male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes across the Cassowary Coast in Queensland in a bid to combat the global pest. CSIRO Director of Health and Biosecurity Dr Rob Grenfell said the results were a major win in the fight against diseases-spreading mosquitoes. "We learnt a lot from collaborating on this first tropical trial and we’re excited to see how this approach might be applied in other regions where Aedes aegypti poses a threat to life and health."

Upcoming Events 

Short Debate: Combatting Neglected Tropical Diseases
July 11,  London, UK
The livestream of the meeting of the House of Lords begins at 3:00PM BST. The full agenda for the meeting can be found here.

MSF Scientific Days - South Asia 2018
July 16,  New Delhi, India
MSF Scientific Days - South Asia is a conference to showcase research, innovation, and experiences from treatment and humanitarian programmes across the region. The conference provides a platform for stakeholders – health groups, vulnerable communities and treatment providers - to share knowledge and help improve quality of care provided to patients & populations.

Tropical Medicine Cases and Neurocysticercosis Guidelines
August 8,  Webinar
What will be covered? A mix of interesting tropical medicine cases as well as one hour on the newly released IDSA and ASTMH co-authored neurocysticercosis guidelines, interspersed with relevant cases. Presenters: Leading tropical medicine experts Susan McLellan, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FASTMH, University of Texas Medical Branch, and Christina Coyle, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will lead the discussion. Dr. Coyle is a co-author of the neurocysticercosis guidelines.

5th International Conference on Neglected Tropical & Infectious Diseases
August 29-30,  Boston, Massachussetts
Theme: Uniting all to overcome and fight against NTD's & infectious diseases for improved health protection.

2018 ROP Africa Symposium
September 3-4,  Cape Town, South Africa
The International Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Council and The Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town are proud to announce the 2018 ROP Africa Symposium.

RSTMH Annual Meeting 2018
September 19-20,  London, UK
The theme of [The Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, or] RSTMH’s 2018 two-day Annual Meeting is intersections of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the Sustainable Development Goals. We will bring together voices from different sectors, locations and disease areas to showcase the lesser-known problems caused by intersections, and their impact.

First International Podoconiosis Conference
September 23, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The theme for this is ‘Research to Implementation: A Call for Global Action’. With this invitation to register, we are also calling for abstracts from all those involved in podoconiosis research and implementation. In order to stimulate high levels of participation, the conference programme will include two sessions of research presentations, one of implementation presentations, and a poster display area. Abstracts for each of these will be selected by competitive process, and prizes will be awarded for the best research and the best implementation presentations. Travel awards will be available for a limited number of selected abstracts.

Access Challenge Universal Health Forum
September 24, New York, New York
The Universal Health Forum will celebrate the drive towards Universal Health Access in Africa. There will be high-level forums on maternal health, child health and malaria, NTDs and NCDs. There will also be an exhibition hall showcasing new technology, diagnostics, and treatments, and a dinner and awards ceremony celebrating leaders from across Africa.

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.

International Conference on Migration Health
October 1-3, Rome, Italy
Hosted by the international Society of Travel Medicine.

World Sight Day
October 11, 2018
World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, the "Call to Action" for World Sight Day is "Eye Care Everywhere."

Tropical Dermatology
October 27 - 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
This 1.5-day course offers an overview of Tropical Dermatology, an essential component of tropical medicine. The course is designed for clinicians who are already familiar with clinical tropical medicine, either from working in tropical environments or from seeing patients returning from the tropics. Saturday’s session is devoted to cutaneous leishmaniais (the latest in the rapidly changing epidemiology, diagnosis and management). Skin conditions will be reviewed from the standpoint of diagnosing and treating individual patients – and from managing skin diseases on a population basis. 

Big Data and Genomics – A Practical Workshop on Sequence Analysis in Parasitology
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
This practical, hands-on workshop will introduce participants to publicly available sequence analysis tools. Using parasite genome and/or RNAseq data obtained from actual field or laboratory experiments, participants will learn analytical methods and workflows used to extract meaningful biological, evolutionary and/or epidemiological insights. Through live exercises led by experts in the field, participants will learn how to retrieve data from sequence repositories, run them through preconfigured or customized workflows, and visualize and explore the data using web-based tools.

The Global Health Impact of Urbanization and Megacities – Trends, Risk Management and Research Needs
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
This course will explore the changing worldwide landscape and global health risks with the exponential increase in urban population growth.  Beyond vector-borne diseases, the lack of barriers between animals, vectors, the environment and water supply increases the risk of other diseases such as leptospirosis, Ebola and plague. We urgently need to be prepared for new microbial transmission pathways in the urban environment that affect human health. 

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. 

7th Global Scabies Control Meeting
October 28, New Orleans, Louisiana
We are pleased to announce the date for the 7th Global Scabies Control meeting. The meeting will be held on Sunday 28th October in New Orleans, LA, USA. Please mark this in your diaries now! Further information and registration details will follow in coming months. 

1st International Caparica Congress on Leishmaniasis
October 29-31, Caparica, Portugal
This conference intends to gather researchers working in areas related to Leishmaniasis, from treatment to prevention. In fact, as leishmaniasis is slowly but constantly, increasing worldwide, this conference is addressed to show the latest research trends in this area. The idea is to push forward the battle against this persistent disease. 

Vector-Borne Diseases in the UK - Biennial Meeting, 2018
December 3-4, Norwich, UK
This meeting will be the fourth we have held on this topic, with previous meetings in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and like before we will bring together members of the major UK research groups who have an interest in vectors or vector-borne diseases which could be a threat to the UK; groups with wider but related areas of interest; members of key UK Government Departments and their Agencies; and representatives of European organisations with an interest in this topic. 

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.