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WHO Releases New Guidance on Diagnostic Tests for Stopping MDA and Surveillance of Lymphatic Filariasis and & 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.  


The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Health (DOH) will equip the Phillipines' future health workforce with up-to-date information on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by integrating it in the curricula of Philippine colleges and universities.

Lymphatic filariasis

Diagnostic test for surveillance of lymphatic filariasis: target product profile

World Health Organization
The purpose of this TPP is to communicate the minimum and ideal characteristics desired to meet the need for discriminating low levels of risk for transmission, i.e. targeted prevalence thresholds in the surveyed areas. An in vitro diagnostic test is needed for the detection of analyte(s) specific to Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori to aid in the surveillance of defined geographic areas as to whether infection and/or transmission potential has increased (recrudescence) or decreased (elimination of transmission).

Diagnostic test for lymphatic filariasis to support decisions for stopping triple-therapy mass drug administration . . .

World Health Organization
A provisional strategy for monitoring and evaluating the impact of IDA was proposed after 2 annual IDA rounds, but the Guideline Development Group identified that current strategies for determining when to stop IDA may not be sufficient and further research was needed (3). As countries approach the 2nd IDA MDA round, programmes urgently need a new diagnostic with specific characteristics and a new survey methodology. The purpose of this TPP is to communicate the minimum and ideal characteristics desired to meet the need for measuring when there is evidence to support stopping IDA MDA. The tools must be able to discriminate targeted prevalence threshold in the tested areas (<1% microfilaremia or <2% antigenemia).

Lymphatic filariasis: managing morbidity and preventing disability: an aide-mémoire for national programme managers

J. King
World Health Organization
The new edition has been developed to make widely available to programme managers, health care workers in endemic settings, academic researchers, and other key partners, a concise source of information on strategies for MMDP for LF. It is a product of efforts to elaborate and concepts and approaches introduced in the previous edition, with a focus on ensuring that countries have the tools necessary to provide the essential package of care for LF.

Methods and Tools to Strengthen Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP) Services

Multi-country experiences in implementing a direct inspection protocol, a situation analysis, and collecting hydrocele and lymphedema patient estimates

Leave No One Behind

Emily Toubali
Without ample attention given to care and treatment, the morbidity caused by LF can lower the overall health and productivity of individuals, families, communities, and nations. But, a new and improved resource is available to help address these concerns. The second edition of the Lymphatic Filariasis MMDP Aide-Memoire for National Programme Managers published this week by the World Health Organization aims to reach program managers, healthcare workers, academic researchers, and other partners with the tools necessary for sustained provision of the essential package of care for LF, a key legacy of the GPELF. The web annexes include critical methods and tools, such as the Situation Analysis Tool and Direct Inspection Protocol, that have been developed to help countries quantify the estimated number of LF patients and gather information to help plan for and assess LF Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP) services. The USAID NTD Division has also published a technical brief to complement WHO’s publication and share the experiences and key learnings of 12 National NTD Programs on their use of these tools (previous item in the News Roundup).

Health officials to kickstart mass drug administration in Bidar, Karnataka

Sreeja MS
Times Now News (India)
The Directorate of Health & Family Welfare Services, Government of Karnataka along with the district health officials said that they will be administering Triple Drug Therapy from 15th March to 15th April.


Cytokines and Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy, a Pilot Study and Review of the Literature

Melissa Krizia Vieri et al.
Neuro-inflammation may be associated with onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE) but thus far very few immunological studies have been performed in children with this form of epilepsy. In a pilot study we measured the cytokine levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of persons with OAE from Maridi, South Sudan, and from Mosango, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and compared these results with cytokine levels in CSF of Africans with non-OAE neurological disorders, and Europeans with epilepsy or other neurological conditions. . . No cytokine was significantly associated with OAE, although a lower IL-13 level was observed in CSF of persons with OAE compared to African controls. Observed cytokine profiles and neuro-inflammation may be the consequence of long-standing epilepsy, concomitant infections and malnutrition.


Evaluation of microscopy, serology, circulating anodic antigen (CAA), and eosinophil counts for the follow-up of migrants . . .

Francesca Tamarozzi et al.
Parasites & Vectors
The UCP-LF CAA assay proved useful for the diagnosis of active infection with Schistosoma spp. and highly valuable for post-treatment monitoring in migrants, encouraging the development of a commercial test.

EDTA-dependent pseudothrombocytopenia in patients with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis mansoni: a clinical management alert

Guilherme Vaz de Melo Trindade et al.
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
EDTA-PTCP was more frequent in HS patients than healthy volunteers (8.92% vs 0.00%, p<0.0285). Platelet clumps and PTCP were also observed in samples collected in sodium citrate tubes, refuting its use as an alternative method.

Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Coinfection of Urogenital Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis among Primary . . .

Kenneth Nnamdi Opara et al.
Journal of Parasitology Research
The study was carried out to determine the current infection status and risk factors associated with Schistosoma haematobium and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) coinfection among school children in Biase Local Government Area (LGA), Cross River State, Nigeria. . .

Water temperature key to schistosomiasis risk and prevention strategies

Emory Health Sciences
A new study finds that the transmission risk for schistosomiasis peaks when water warms to 21.7 degrees centigrade, and that the most effective interventions should include snail removal measures implemented when the temperature is below that risk threshold.

Combating Parasitic Worms in Ethiopia

Fikre Seife, Karen Palacio and Tegan Mosugu
Your Say, PLOS Blog
Following the second annual World NTD Day, we reflect on the successes achieved by the Ethiopia National Deworming Program, one of the largest at-risk school-age populations in the world for parasitic worms.

Previous History of American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis Alters Susceptibility and Immune Response Against Schistosoma mansoni...

Guilherme Silva Miranda et al.
Frontiers in Immunology
Thus, the current study evaluated the effect of previous American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis (ATL) on the susceptibility and immune response to Schistosoma mansoni infection in residents from a rural community in Northern of Minas Gerais state, Brazil, an area endemic for both parasitic infections.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Soil transmitted helminth infection in primary school children varies with ecozone in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Manar Eltantawy et al.
Tropical Medicine and Health
Significant differences in prevalence in HEE and LEE exist, and STH infections are still very common among school children suggesting that anthelminthic intervention and education may be necessary in this region. Based on this outcome, the study area in the NCA would be classified as a medium risk area, where periodic treatment recommendations should be based on prevalence estimations in the different ecozones.

Evaluation of vegetables grown in dry mountainous regions for soil transmitted helminths contamination

W. Khan et al.
Brazilian Journal of Biology
The findings of this study provide evidence that consumption of raw vegetable has a high risk of acquiring geo-helminth infections. The authors believe that preventing the human to enter to the vegetable farmland for defecation, avoiding the irrigation of agricultural fields via night soil, and educating the people on proper washing and cooking of vegetables may be useful in reducing parasitic infections.

Socioenvironmental Factors Influencing Distribution and Intensity of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis in the Brazilian Amazon...

Deiviane Aparecida Calegar et al.
Journal of Tropical Medicine
The present study aims to describe the epidemiological scenario of STHs in an urban population in the Brazilian Amazon.

Impact of Annual Albendazole Versus Four-Monthly Test-and Treat Approach of Intestinal Parasites on Children Growth...

Carolina Gasparinho et al.
A longitudinal four-arm randomized parallel trial was conducted to investigate if deworming with a single annual dose of albendazole (annual-ALB) or a four-monthly test-and-treat (4TT) intestinal parasites approach at individual or household levels improve nutritional outcomes of pre-school children in Bengo province.

Burden of soil-transmitted helminth infection in pregnant refugees and migrants on the Thailand-Myanmar border...

Tobias Brummaier et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This retrospective analysis of routinely collected data from more than 12,000 pregnant refugee and migrant women who attended antenatal care clinics along the Thai-Myanmar border shows that one in five pregnant women were infected with STHs. Moreover, pregnant women with a STH infection were more likely to present with anaemia, suggesting that early presentation to antenatal care as well as anthelmintic treatment with subsequent anaemia prophylaxis may reduce the risk of anaemia. Interestingly, our data also indicate that STH infections may have beneficial effects on pregnancy outcomes, as miscarriage was less likely to occur in pregnancies with maternal STH infections.


Choose to challenge: How data driven approaches to health can challenge gender roles and achieve gender equity and equality

Kristin Sullivan et al.
International Coalition for Trachoma Control
Trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, affects the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities. Within these communities, trachoma disproportionately affects women, exacerbating inequities and inequalities, and presenting a major obstacle to the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender equality.

Inhibitory Activity of Pyrroloisoxazolidine Derivatives against Chlamydia trachomatis

Min Ni et al,
BioMed Research International
Our findings suggest the potential of pyrroloisoxazolidine derivatives as promising lead molecules for the development of antichlamydial agents.


CHED, DOH seek to eliminate neglected tropical diseases through education of PH health workforce

Republic of the Philippines
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Health (DOH) will equip the country’s future health workforce with up-to-date information on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by integrating it in the curricula of Philippine colleges and universities. NTDs will be included in the curricula of Medicine, Nursing, Medical Technology, Midwifery, and Physical Therapy courses. This initiative was launched through the signing of a Joint Memorandum of Agreement between DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III and was witnessed by CHED Commissioner Lilian De Las Llagas and DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau Medical Officer Leda Hernandez.

Let’s Not Neglect These Deadly Tropical Diseases

K Madan Gopal
Outlook Poshan 2.0 (India)
In 2021, the public health campaigns to contain these neglected tropical diseases must go on with the national efforts to safeguard citizens from the novel Coronavirus. Strategically using the worldwide health consciousness caused by the COVID-19 crisis, for NTD elimination could encourage the fight against these preventable and treatable diseases. In the whole chain of events, bolstering the key link of social mobilization at the community-level can accelerate India's progress in the elimination of NTDs.

Community-directed distributors—The “foot soldiers” in the fight to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases

Uche V. Amazigo et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
We are of the opinion that CDDs as community selected, trained, and experienced “foot soldiers,” some of whom were involved in the Ebola outbreak responses at the community level in Liberia, if retrained, can assist community leaders and support health workers (HWs) in the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis. The review highlights the improved treatment coverage where there are women CDDs, the benefits and lessons from the work of CDDs, their long-term engagement, and the challenges they face in healthcare delivery. It underscores the value of utilising the CDD model for strong community engagement and recommends the model, with some review, to hasten the achievement of the NTD 2030 goal and assist the health system cope with evolving epidemics and other challenges. We propose that, based on the unprecedented progress made in the control of NTDs directly linked to community engagement and contributions of CDDs “foot soldiers,” they deserve regional and global recognition. We also suggest that the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international stakeholders promote policy and guidance for countries to adapt this model for the elimination of NTDs and to strengthen national health services.

Data: What has been the trend in incidence of Vector-Borne Diseases in India?

Pavithra K M
Factly (India)
In this story, we look at the status of five vector-borne diseases (Leprosy, Kala Azar, Lymphatic Filariasis, Malaria, and Dengue) in India which continue to affect thousands of people every year.

Outputs from the 2020 COR-NTD Meeting

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The 2020 annual meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) was held virtually from November 12 to November 14, 2020. Content on this page captures the key discussion points, knowledge gaps, and recommended next steps identified by the participants of the 24 breakout sessions held at that event

Special Issue: Modelling the Potential Impact of Covid-19 Related Programme Interruptions on Seven Neglected Tropical Diseases

Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
It includes editorials and commentaries by experts in the field on the potential impact Covid-19 could have on neglected tropical diseases.


Opinion: We need a gender equity approach to disease elimination

Lara Dahan and Priya Kanayson
Although these diseases of poverty affect more men on a case-by-case basis, the longer-term impact of NTDs on women and girls may be more severe because of gender inequities.

Call for COR-NTD Research Links Sessions

Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases
The Secretariat of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) is pleased to announce the new series, COR-NTD Research Links. This series will include webinars, working meetings, research updates, etc., and will take place throughout the year. This series is expected to replace the breakout sessions that have traditionally taken place at the COR-NTD meeting. At the COR-NTD 2021 Meeting (November 8 - 10), session organizers will have the opportunity to present the outputs and action steps from their discussions. To propose an event in the COR-NTD Research Links series for April through June, please fill out the form to the right. While the deadline for this quarter is April 9, feel free to submit your proposal earlier – especially if you are planning a session for April. The COR-NTD Secretariat and donors will review proposals on a rolling basis.

Task Force Joins UN Commission on the Status of Women

The Task Force for Global Health
The importance of strong national public health systems has become clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crucial to national systems are the “disease detectives” within Ministries of Health and National Public Health Institutes who rapidly identify new disease outbreaks and develop and execute complex strategies to stop their spread and save lives. Our world will benefit from having more female “detectives” – not only to improve their access to this highly-respected career path, but also to ensure that their voices and perspectives influence policy development and implementation at all levels of government and the non-profit and private sectors.


Women scientists capture public attention as COVID-19 rages across the world

Beatrice Halpaap
Influential women scientists like Dr Osorio are tackling deadly diseases such as COVID-19, malaria, dengue and tuberculosis across the world. A new “Women in Science” compendium compiled by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, based at the World Health Organization, celebrates 15 women scientists working in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, who share their inspiring stories and offer some words of wisdom on how to navigate a career in science.

The Pandemic That Won’t End: COVID-19 Variants and the Peril of Vaccine Inequity

Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker
Foreign Affairs
As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, variants of concern have been identified in Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. They will not be the last. (You must subscribe to the free subscription to read the full article).

Opinion: Religious groups should be engaged for COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Olivia Wilkinson and Katherine Marshall
Vaccinating a large share of the planet’s population rapidly and effectively is a truly unique challenge, and it demands resources and partnerships from many, if not all, communities. The world’s large and diverse religious communities, too often sidelined in health and development forums, bring distinctive assets and should be involved right from the start. Religious communities offer high levels of trust, practical resources, and layers of commitment to equity.

In Brief: A breakdown of global funding in the US COVID-19 bill

Adva Saldinger
The bill includes about $11.3 billion in funding for the United States’ global response to the pandemic. A breakdown is included.

FDA Warns Against Using Ivermectin to Treat COVID-19

Marcia Frellick
Medscape Medical News
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance warning consumers against using the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. The agency says it issued the guidance on Friday in light of growing interest in the drug as a COVID-19 treatment and multiple reports of patients hospitalized or needing medical support "after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses." Ivermectin, which is not an antiviral, has not been approved by the FDA for treating or preventing COVID-19, the guidance emphasized.

Coronavirus 2019: CDC is responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak globally

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In the past year CDC has supported more than 50 countries to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19 in collaboration with other U.S. government agencies and international partners. In more than 20 countries, CDC is working to expand capacities to detect and identify emerging variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.


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

A Devex conversation with Dr. John Nkengasong
March 18, 2021

FP Virtual Dialogue: How to Stop Fake News
March 18, 2021
FP and Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

WHO Presentation of Plans for World Chagas
March 22, 2021
Chagas Coalition

WHO Chagas Coalition. Chagas disease in the time of COVID-19 
March 23, 2021
Chagas Coalition

The Faces of Global Health: Women in Leadership 
March 23, 2021
The Task Force for Global Health, Women in Global Health GA, U.S.A., and Georgia Global Health Alliance

ISNTD Festival 2021
March 24-25, 2021
International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Delineation of transmission zones to improve the evidence-base for stop MDA decisions and reduce the risk of resurgence
March 31, 2021
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) Research Links Series

Virtual Influencer Workshop for African Celebrities, Media Houses, and Journalists: Shaping COVID-19 Response through accurate information dissemination
March 30, 2021
One by One: Target Covid 19

World Health Day
April 7, 2021
World Health Organization

World Health Day Symposium 2021
April 7, 2021
Global Minnesota

100 & Change Finalists Live
April 7, 2021
MacArthur Foundation

G-FINDER launch
April 15, 2021
Policy Cures Research

XVI Workshop on Chagas Disease
April 15-16, 2021
Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona

Spread Truth, Not Disease Hackathon
April 17-18, 2021
The Task Force for Global Health

30th Annual Molecular Parasitology & Vector Biology Symposium
May 4, 2021
Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia

Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting 2021 
June 20-26, 2021
The Commonwealth

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

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

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: impact and guidance
World Health Organization