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The World Health Organization to Publish First Official Guidelines on Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Leprosy & 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.



WHO to publish first official guidelines on leprosy diagnosis, treatment and prevention


Lymphatic filariasis

Innovative Surveillance Strategies to Support the Elimination of Filariasis in Africa

Louise A. Kelly-Hope, Harriet J. Blundell, Cara L .Macfarlane and David H. Molyneux
Trends in Parasitology
A public health framework focusing on health-related data, systematic collection of data, and analysis and interpretation of data is used to highlight the range of innovative surveillance strategies required for filariasis elimination. The most recent and significant developments include: rapid point-of-care test (POCT) diagnostics; clinical assessment tools; new WHO guidelines; open-access online data portals; mHealth platforms; large-scale prevalence maps; and the optimisation of mathematical models.

Nigeria records case of elephantiasis in Gombe

Chijioke Jannah
Daily Post (Nigeria)
Nigeria has recorded case of Lymphatic Filariasis, popularly known as Elephantiasis, at Galdamaru community in Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe state. . . until now, Elephantiasis, which is one of the neglected tropical diseases, was last reported a decade ago in the state.

New Treatment Strategy May Accelerate Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis

The Task Force for Global Health
Soon after WHO issued new treatment guidelines, Merck committed to expand its Mectizan® (ivermectin) donation by 100 million treatments annually through 2025 for LF elimination. The Task Force-based Mectizan® Donation Program (MDP) manages the donation. . . Another Task Force program, The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC), is helping address operational issues associated with the implementation of [ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine, and albendazole, or] IDA. The NTD-SC supported the pioneering efforts of the Death to Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis (DOLF) program at Washington University in St. Louis that showed triple-drug therapy to be both effective and safe for MDA. Now, NTD-SC is working closely with the Kenyan ministry of health and partners to develop a new monitoring and evaluation framework.

[VIDEO] The new treatment combination (IDA) will accelerate and speed-up the elimination process of LF: Dr Gary J Weil

Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Gary J Weil, Prof. of Medicine (Infectious diseases), Prof of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University, to know more about latest drug regimen (IDA) in the prevention and treatment of lymphatic filariasis.


Evaluation of Treatment Coverage and Enhanced Mass Drug Administration for Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis in Five Local

Emily Griswold et al.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The western region of Edo state in southern Nigeria is highly endemic for onchocerciasis. Despite years of mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin (IVM), reports suggest persistently high prevalence of onchocerciasis, presumably because of poor coverage. . . We concluded that poor mobilization, medicine distribution, and program penetration led to low coverage. These must be addressed to improve treatment coverage in Edo state.


Quality of life and quality-adjusted life years of chronic schistosomiasis mansoni patients in Brazil in 2015

Gilmara Lima Nascimento et al.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
Measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) have been used to express the impact of neglected diseases and to generate indicators for health economic assessments. Schistosomiasis mansoni is a neglected disease with various clinical manifestations, including severe repercussions, caused by parasitic worms. Here we describe the quality of life of chronic schistosomiasis mansoni patients and estimate the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) associated with chronic schistosomiasis mansoni in Brazil in 2015.

Treating schistosomiasis among South African high school pupils in an endemic area, a qualitative study

Andrea Lothe et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
Increased knowledge, health literacy for treatment, and correct understanding about the severity of schistosomiasis may provide cues to action. The study indicates that comprehensive information may increase pupil participation in mass-treatment and decrease schistosomiasis prevalence.

Parasitic flatworms affect millions in developing countries, but new research offers hope

Karl Hoffmann
The Conversation
We have spent the past two decades studying schistosome biology in order to identify parasite processes and targets that may lead to the development of new drugs or other treatments. . . In our newly published PLoS Pathogens study, we conducted a series of experiments to further illuminate the activity of proteins involved in recognising and translating these DNA methylation marks in the schistosome species Schistosoma mansoni. The experiments included use of a technique called RNA interference to reduce expression of genes coding for two proteins known to be involved in DNA methylation processes. These are called methyl-CpG-binding (SmMBD2/3) and chromobox (SmCBX). . . these results suggest that the two proteins play essential roles in the biology of S. mansoni, especially given that egg production is a key step in the human infection and disease transmission.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

An integrated approach to control soil-transmitted helminthiasis, schistosomiasis, intestinal protozoa infection, and diarrhea:

Giovanna Raso et al.
JMIR Research Protocols
The aim of this study was to assess and quantify the effect of an integrated control package that consists of preventive chemotherapy, community-led total sanitation, and health education on soil-transmitted helminthiasis, schistosomiasis, intestinal protozoa infection, and diarrhea in rural Côte d’Ivoire.

Investigating the Effectiveness of Current and Modified World Health Organization Guidelines for the Control of STH Infections

Sam H. Farrell et al.
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for STH control include mass drug administration (MDA) programs based on prevalence measurements, aiming at reducing morbidity in pre–school-aged children (pre-SAC) and school-aged children (SAC) by lowering the prevalence of moderate- to heavy-intensity infections to <1%. . . While the standard guidelines are sufficient at low transmission levels, community-wide treatment (ie, involving pre-SAC, SAC, and adults) is essential if WHO morbidity goals are to be met in moderate- to high-transmission settings. Moreover, removing the recommendation of decreasing the treatment frequency at midline (5–6 years after the start of MDA) further improves the likelihood of achieving morbidity control in [school-aged children, or] SAC.

Tiny worm quietly infecting thousands in remote communities

Roxanne Fitzgerald
Katherine Times (Australia)
Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by parasitic worms which crawl in through human skin and reproduce inside stomachs and digestive organs. . . Detection rates are low, despite high infection rates particularly in Indigenous communities living in tropical climates.


WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020: progress report on elimination of trachoma, 2017

World Health Organization
Weekly Epidemiological Record
This report summarizes work conducted during 2017 to apply the SAFE strategy against trachoma. It also contains an estimate of the global population at risk of trachoma blindness based on district-by-district data submitted to WHO from national programmes. It is inherently complex to summarize the underlying epidemiological situation in this way, as there may be up to 3 valid estimates of prevalence in a district within 1 calendar year.


Disease-specific alliances could unite to better support elimination of all NTDs

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the various alliances working to eliminate specific neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to come together to better support countries in their efforts to overcome these conditions that affect mostly poor populations. “The time has come now for all the alliances to come together and talk about an NTD elimination alliance or network,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Deputy Director-General for Programmes. “This will [...] help us to create a louder voice[ ..] and [..] support countries' efforts better [...] because cross-cutting efforts will be more helpful”.

Gender Differences Related to WASH in Schools and Educational Efficiency

Dorice Agol and Peter Harvey
Water Alternatives
This paper tests the hypothesis that improved WASH in schools can lead to educational efficiency and progression especially for teenage girls. . . The analysis revealed that lack of WASH leads to high rates of repetition and dropout in school for girls, compared to boys especially from the age of 13 and in grades 6, 7 and 8. This affirms the importance of providing adequate supply of WASH facilities in schools to facilitate educational efficiency and progression of girls.

Redefining Access to Medicines: Panel Q&A from ISNTD d³ 2018

Robert Herriman
Outbreak News Today
On today’s podcast, I’ll be playing an expert question and answer panel from the International Society of Neglected Tropical Diseases d³ (ISNTD d³) conference in London June 25-26th 2018. The Q & A is on the topic, Redefining Access to Medicines and is chaired by Andrew Jack of The Financial Times. Panel participants include: Dr. Beatrice Greco (Merck Global Health Institute), Jeffrey Moe (Duke Global Health Institute), Eric Stobbaerts (DNDi), Goylette Chami (University of Cambridge, Department of Pathology), Danny Edwards (Access to Medicines Foundation), Poppy Lamberton (University of Glasgow) and Margaret Olele (American Business Council).

Monitoring and Supervising the Annual Mass Drug Administration for Neglected Tropical Diseases in Ethiopia using a Rapid Covera

Ahlam Awad Mohammed
The Supervisor’s Coverage Tool (SCT) is a rapid, simple, and inexpensive monitoring and supervising tool recently endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The tool is generally implemented by a district or sub-district level supervisor prior to the end of an MDA round. The SCT can help detect issues related to poor compliance, the drug distribution strategy, and the performance of community drug distributors. The tool can also be used to identify districts in need of additional (‘mop-up’) treatments.

Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow: Disease Elimination Can Bring People Together

The Task Force for Global Health
"I realized that NTD elimination is all about coming together. Most of the people who are affected by NTDs live in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. But there is real progress being made toward eliminating some of these devastating diseases thanks to ongoing collaboration between various players including WHO, endemic countries, non-governmental organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and donors. These groups are working closely together to control and eliminate at least 10 of the most common NTDs on WHO’s list in the next few years." -Ahlam Awad Mohammed


WHO to publish first official guidelines on leprosy diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) will publish its first guidelines on leprosy as part of renewed efforts to eliminate the disease and after almost two years since the Global Leprosy Strategy 2016–2020 was launched. . . “The primary audience of the guidelines includes people involved in the formulation of national policies and clinicians who are involved in the management of the disease particularly in low- and middle-income countries” said Dr Erwin Cooreman, Team Leader of the Global Leprosy Programme which is housed in WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Office in New Delhi, India. “With ongoing transmission of infection, including among children, it is clear that we need renewed efforts to eliminate the disease.”

New evidence that wild armadillos spread leprosy to humans

Mary Guiden
An international team led by researchers at Colorado State University has found that human contact with wild armadillos — including eating the meat — has contributed to extremely high infection rates of a pathogen that can cause leprosy in Pará, Brazil. . . The research team is following up this study by sequencing the genome of this strain of M. leprae to learn more about what type of infection is circulating and how it might differ from strains found in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Disease surveillance confirms presence of dracunculiasis in Angola

Ashok Moloo
World Health Organization
“The patient is an 8-year-old girl from Cunene Province. Signs of worm emergence in April this year were characteristic of guinea-worm disease and the worm appeared identical to Dracunculus medinensis,” said Dr Maria Cecília de Almeida of the Angolan Guinea Worm Eradication Programme who is also Director of Control Programmes for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Ministry of Health. “The case-management protocol was observed, including the preservation of the worm specimen, and we are investigating further to determine the extent of transmission and burden of the disease.”

Primary Eye Care training manual

World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa
The purpose of this manual is to provide guidance in the design, implementation and evaluation of a course that aims to build and strengthen the capacity of health personnel to manage eye patients at primary-level health facilities in the African Region. The course falls within the remit of continuous professional development in its broadest sense. Its content focuses on simple evidence-based practice that can be easily carried out in primary-level health facilities all over Africa.

Predicted distribution and burden of podoconiosis in Cameroon

Kebede Deribe et al.
BMJ Global Health
In Cameroon, podoconiosis is more widely distributed geographically than was initially expected. The number of cases and the population at risk are considerable. Expanding morbidity management and follow-up of cases is of utmost necessity. Promotion of footwear use and regular foot hygiene should be at the forefront of any intervention plan.

An international qualitative study exploring patients’ experiences of cutaneous leishmaniasis: study set-up and protocol

Astrid Christine Erber et al.
BMJ Open
Lack of investments in drug development, lack of standardisation of clinical trials and the complexity of disease presentations contribute to the current lack of effective, safe and adapted treatments for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). One aspect concerns outcomes affecting patients’ quality of life (QoL): these are hardly assessed in trials, despite potential functional and/or aesthetic impairment caused by CL, which typically affects disadvantaged and vulnerable people living in rural areas. Here, we describe the approach used to bring perspectives of patients with CL into designing and assessing treatments.

Community-based malaria Screening and Treatment for Pregnant Women Receiving Standard Intermittent Preventive Treatment...

COSMIC Consortium
Clinical Infectious Diseases
We investigated whether adding community scheduled malaria screening and treatment (CSST) with artemether-lumefantrine by community health workers (CHW) to standard Intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) would improve maternal and infant health. . . Adding CSST to existing IPTp-SP strategies did not reduce [malaria in pregnancy, or] MiP. Increasing the number of IPTp-SP doses given during pregnancy is a priority.

Plasmodium ovale wallikeri in Western Lowland Gorillas and Humans, Central African Republic

Mwanahamisi I. Mapua et al.
Emerging Infectious Diseases
Human malaria parasites have rarely been reported from free-ranging great apes. Our study confirms the presence of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium ovale wallikeri in western lowland gorillas and humans in Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas, Central African Republic, and discusses implications for malaria epidemiology.

Enhancing preparation for large Nipah outbreaks beyond Bangladesh: Preventing a tragedy like Ebola in West Africa

Halsie Donaldson and Daniel Lucey
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
Nipah epidemiology has differed in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. Beyond Bangladesh, there is a need to enhance preparedness for large Nipah outbreaks. Nipah epidemics beyond South Asia should be prevented to avoid a tragedy like Ebola in West Africa.

Snakebite: The biggest public health crisis you’ve never heard of

Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan Foundation
Snakebite is essentially a disease of the poor, mostly affecting populations living in some of the poorest, most rural communities of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Smallholder farmers, their families, herdsmen, and displaced peoples are particularly vulnerable. These groups often lack even the most basic protections such as snake-proof footwear or bed nets.

Health Task Force Tackles Big Problems

Kevin Madigan
Atlanta Jewish Times
"We recently took on, as the secretariat, the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy. What we are doing is helping the world’s leprosy community, nonprofits and groups in every country where leprosy exists to understand that we can actually put our shoulders together and eliminate the disease. This biblical disease that seems to always be here can be eliminated. There is a pathway to doing that. It’s not just fantasy, there is a way to get there." -Dave Ross

Upcoming Events 

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.

Science in the City: Neglected Tropical Diseases
July 10,  Seattle, Washington
Julie Jacobson, Senior Program Officer, Global Health with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will discuss controlling neglected tropical diseases. This free even is part of the Pacific Science Center's Global Health and Development lecture series, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WGHA.

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.

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.

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.