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Vanuatu Ministry of Health Submits Trachoma Elimination Dossier to WHO & 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.

Training of community NTD medicine distributors in Dabola. Photo: HKI/Guinea

Training of community NTD medicine distributors in Dabola. Photo: HKI/Guinea

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis: reporting continued progress towards elimination as a public health problem

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
The target set by GPELF in 2000 to eliminate LF as a public health problem globally by 2020 will not by achieved by then. Despite setbacks due to COVID-19, WHO will accelerate work to achieve this target by 2030. New global estimates suggest a 74% reduction in the number of infected people since the start of GPELF.2 The new, ambitious targets for 2030 are that 80% of endemic countries have met the criteria for validation of elimination as a public health problem, with the remaining 20% under post-treatment surveillance, meaning that MDA will no longer be required.

Lymphatic filariasis in Fiji: progress towards elimination, 1997–2007

Rosie K. Manolas et al.
Tropical Medicine and Health
Having not reached the target threshold of 1% prevalence in all ages, Fiji wisely decided to continue MDA after 2007 but to move from nationwide implementation to four (later five) separate evaluation units with independent timelines using global guidelines, building on program experience to put more emphasis on increasing coverage through prioritized communication strategies, community participation, and morbidity alleviation.... The information presented here will assist the country to progress towards validating elimination in subsequent years.


Weekly epidemiological record: Elimination of human onchocerciasis: progress report, 2019–2020

World Health Organization
The original WHO NTD road map specified elimination of the transmission of onchocerciasis in the Americas and in Yemen by 2015 and, where feasible, in Africa by 2020.8 With time and experience,9–12 the goal has evolved. Although no date has yet been set for elimination in all WHO regions, SDG 3.3 specifically calls for an end to the epidemic of NTDs. In response, WHO is planning to reduce the burden of NTDs by 90% by 2030, and this target is included in its 2021–2030 NTD road map.13 Throughout 2018 and to the present, WHO has engaged stakeholders in meetings and individual and online consultations to review the targets and challenges of the global onchocerciasis programme and has incorporated the input into the road map. There remains strong support for the global programme’s target of interrupting transmission. Milestones to achievement of this goal are listed in the WHO NTD road map.


New epidemiological profile of schistosomiasis from an area of low prevalence in Brazil

Israel Gomes de Amorim Santos et al.
Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine
Schistosomiasis, caused by infection from Schistosoma mansoni, is a disease that represents an important public health problem for Brazil, especially for states in the Northeast region. Thus, the aim of this study is to present a new epidemiological profile for the disease in a municipality with low prevalence in the state of Alagoas, Brazil.

Association of Schistosoma haematobium infection morbidity and severity on coinfections in pre-school age children in Zimbabwe

Tariro L. Mduluza-Jokonya et al.
BMC Public Health
This study revealed an association between schistosomiasis and the comorbidity conditions of URTI, dermatophytosis, malaria and FUO in PSAC living in a schistosomiasis endemic area. A possible detrimental effect where coinfection led to severe sequels of the comorbidity conditions was demonstrated. Appropriate clinical diagnostic methods are required to identify associated infectious diseases and initiate early treatment of schistosomiasis and co-infections in PSAC.

Drug Developments of Schistosomiasis

Martin Nelwan
Drug candidates for treating schistosomiasis consist of such as arachidonic acid and Allium sativum. These drug candidates can kill schistosomes. A second pathogen as S. typhimurium may be helpful for eliminating schistosomiasis.

Core components, concepts and strategies for parasitic and vector-borne disease elimination with a focus on schistosomiasis. . .

Nora Monnier, Tanja Barth-Jaeggi, Stefanie Knopp, Peter Steinmann
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Based on the findings, we propose here a comprehensive set of intervention strategies for schistosomiasis control and elimination for review and evaluation to inform implementation research needs and elimination program design.

Association of schistosomiasis and HIV infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Pragna Patel et al.
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
We found a significant association of schistosomiasis with HIV. However, we could not generate a specific summary estimate for FGS. We provide a research agenda to determine the effect of FGS on HIV infection. WHO’s policy on mass drug administration for schistosomiasis may prevent HIV.

Evaluation of ... praziquantel against schistosomes in seven countries with ongoing large-scale deworming programs

B. Levecke et al.
International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
In conclusion, these results do not suggest any established reduced efficacy of the standard PZQ treatment to any of the three schistosome species within these countries. Nevertheless, the substantial degree of variation in individual responses to treatment in some countries underpins the need for future monitoring.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Evaluating the performance of diagnostic methods for soil transmitted helminths in the Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia

Abebe Fenta et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
Spontaneous tube sedimentation shows higher sensitivity in the detection of soil transmitted helminth infections. Agar plate culture method also indicated better performance for hookworm detection than other methods. Therefore, the employment of spontaneous tube sedimentation technique for routine laboratory and agar plate culture for research purposes will significantly aid in accurate diagnosis of parasitic infections.

Community-based survey on helminth infections in ... the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and implications for ... control

Raquel Inocencio da Luz et al.
We conducted a community-based survey in two districts of the Kwilu Province of the DRC. We found that hookworm was the predominant infection in the area and that adults were as often infected as the schoolchildren. Therefore, to effectively reduce hookworm infection, we advise extending treatment schemes to the entire community.


Trachoma disease eliminated says health ministry

Brenda Daniel
In a positive development, the Vanuatu Ministry of Health has recorded a decrease in trachoma eye disease in Vanuatu, leading it to report to the United Nations that the disease has been eliminated.. . .Mrs. Taleo says the ministry is now waiting for a response from the World Health Organization to certify that Vanuatu is trachoma free.

Prevalence of trachoma and associated factors in students from the Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Evanildo José da Silva et al.
Journal of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine
The prevalence of trachoma among the students aged 7 to 16 years old, from public and private schools, is not negligible and is especially associated with inadequate living conditions.

Population-Based Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis Infection and Antibodies in four Districts with Varying Levels of Trachoma

Scott D. Nash et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The Trachoma Control Program in Amhara region, Ethiopia, scaled up the surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement (SAFE) strategy in all districts starting in 2007. Despite these efforts, many districts still require additional years of SAFE. In 2017, four districts were selected for the assessment of antibody responses against Chlamydia trachomatis antigens and C. trachomatis infection to better understand transmission.


Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification as Point-of-Care Diagnosis for Neglected Parasitic Infections

Catalina Avendaño and Manuel Alfonso Patarroyo
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
This review describes the advances made to date regarding LAMP tests, as it has been found that even though several studies have been conducted concerning most NPI, information is scarce for others.

The NTD Supply Chain Forum—Strengthening the backbone of NTD programs

Ashley A. Souza, Cassandra Holloway, and Tijana Williams
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Today, the scale of the PC-NTD drug donation programs is staggering. Nearly 15 billion tablets have been manufactured, packaged, shipped, and distributed in order to reach the people in need. The supply chains established to support such massive operations are enormously complex. Here, we describe a unique public–private partnership that was formed to bring together supply chain expertise to overcome the critical challenges associated with such large-scale production and delivery of donated pharmaceutical products.


New type of antivenom to reduce 100,000 fatalities each year from venomous snake bites being developed by Bristol scientists

University of Bristol
A new approach of treating life-threatening snake bites responsible for around 100,000 deaths globally each year is being pioneered by an international research consortium led by University of Bristol scientists. The EU-funded ADDovenom study, involving teams in the UK, France, Belgium and Portugal, set out to create a new type of antivenom treatment to neutralise and eliminate venom toxins from the bloodstream with more efficacy, safety and affordability than what is available today.

New Study Shows 34% Reduction in Dengue, Zika Transmission with Innovative SC Johnson Spatial Repellent

SC Johnson
A spatial repellent product designed by SC Johnson could reduce dengue and Zika infections by an estimated 34%, according to new research released by the University of Notre Dame. The data, collected from a Peru-based study, represents the second clinical trial of a five-year global program to investigate the impact of spatial repellents in reducing mosquito-borne disease.

GPZL Launches Country Model in Ghana

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
In late November and early December, the Partnership will launch the GPZL country model in Ghana. A country review was requested by the Ghanaian National Leprosy Programme, headed by Dr. Benedict Quao. Regional experts will conduct the review with remote support from the GPZL Secretariat, taking stock of the programme's current status and defining key priorities for the future. GPZL offers support to national programmes through a unique country model approach.

Leprosy post-exposure prophylaxis with single-dose rifampicin (LPEP): an international feasibility programme

Prof Jan Hendrik Richardus, PhD et al.
The Lancet Global Health
Post-exposure prophylaxis with SDR is safe; can be integrated into different leprosy control programmes with minimal additional efforts once contact tracing has been established; and is generally well accepted by index patients, their contacts, and health-care workers. The programme has also invigorated local leprosy control through the availability of a prophylactic intervention; therefore, we recommend rolling out SDR in all settings where contact tracing and screening have been established.


Guinea’s neglected tropical diseases program treats 4.4 million people in 14 days, despite COVID-19

Act to End NTDs West
It is clear from our experience in Guinea that although COVID-19 has required additional time for managing logistics—ensuring safe physical distancing and delivering medicine house to house, for example—it has not prevented efforts to work toward NTD elimination. With careful collaboration, innovation, and planning, the Guinea NTDP team and partners are committed to continuing this important work.

Accelerating the elimination of bilharzia in South Sudan amid the COVID-19 pandemic

WHO Africa
Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) are conducting community-based mass drug administration (MDA) against bilharzia targeting over 700 000 children aged 5 to 14 years in 15 endemic counties of Lakes and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.

Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on eliminating trachoma as a public health problem

Seth Blumberg et al.
We identify three distinct scenarios for geographic districts depending on whether the basic reproduction number and the treatment-associated reproduction number are above or below a value of one. We find that when the basic reproduction number is below one, no significant delays in disease control will be caused. However, when the basic reproduction number is above one, significant delays can occur. In most districts a year of COVID-related delay can be mitigated by a single extra round of mass drug administration. However, supercritical districts require a new paradigm of infection control because the current strategies will not eliminate disease.

COVID-19 and neglected tropical disease innovation

So when the pandemic forced us to pause many of our programmes to combat NTDs in Africa earlier this year, we knew it was vital to find ways to safely resume our programmes so we could carry on protecting those who need it, build on the gains made to eliminate the diseases, as well as supporting governments with their COVID-19 responses. To this end, and with the support of funders, partners and ministries of health, we have spent the last few months innovating and adapting programmes, always putting the local needs of every community at the centre of what we do. Here are some of the ways innovation is helping us respond.

Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases in a COVID-19 World

Margaret Baker and Michael French
RTI International
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all as we attempt to stop the virus’ spread while also considering other needs for our health, education, and livelihoods. The global community working to fight neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is also learning to adapt to these unprecedented times. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Act to End NTDs | East program, we are learning lessons about how to help countries continue progress against NTDs while protecting health workers and communities. To do so, many partners have published new resources to help countries safely restart NTD programs.


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

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

COR-NTD 2020
November 12-14, 2020, Virtual Meeting
The goal of the meeting is to strengthen NTD programs by addressing knowledge gaps in a coordinated way, identifying emerging research priorities and informing donor investments. The meeting brings together researchers, program implementers, and their partners and includes a wide diversity of research topics. Registration is now closed.

#TropMed20 - Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
November 15-19, 2020, Virtual Meeting
The ASTMH Annual Meeting draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, foundations, government, not for profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, 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 healthcare providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health

What role do partnerships play in NTDs and the roll out of the new Roadmap?
December 2, 2020, Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization

The leadership needed to stimulate the battle against NTDs
December 16, 2020, Webinar
Webinar of the World Health Organization