Kenyan Pastoralists Still Suffer Trachoma Amidst Traditional Beliefs and other NTD News

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 Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases or the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center.

Photos: Remembering Joseph Cook and Lazarus Juziwelo; Photo credits: Task Force for Global Health and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Lymphatic filariasis

Integrated xenosurveillance of Loa loa, Wuchereria bancrofti, Mansonella perstans and Plasmodium falciparum using mosquito carcasses and faeces: A pilot study in Cameroon

Joseph Pryce et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Mosquito xenosurveillance may provide a useful tool for the surveillance of loiasis alongside other parasitic diseases.

Eosinophils in filarial infections: Inducers of protection or pathology?

Alexandra Ehrens, Achim Hoerauf and Marc P. Hübner, Frontiers in Immunology

Eosinophils are innate immune cells and pivotal in controlling helminth infections in general and filarial infections in particular. By modulating the function of other leukocytes, eosinophils support and drive type 2 immune responses. Moreover, as primary effector cells, eosinophils can directly attack filariae through the release of granules containing toxic cationic proteins with or without extracellular DNA traps. At the same time, eosinophils can be a driving force for filarial pathology as observed during tropical pulmonary eosinophilia in lymphatic filariasis, in dermatitis in onchocerciasis patients as well as adverse events after treatment of onchocerciasis patients with diethylcarbamazine. This review summarizes the latest findings of the importance of eosinophil effector functions including the role of eosinophil-derived proteins in controlling filarial infections and their impact on filarial pathology analyzing both human and experimental animal studies.


The Indispensability of Snail Control for Accelerating Schistosomiasis Elimination: Evidence from Zanzibar

Mtumweni Ali Muhsin et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

Our data indicate that, while it is challenging to eliminate schistosomiasis by MDA alone, integrated measures, including both MDA and snail control, can prevent reinfection and help to eliminate the diseases in Africa.

Schistosomiasis and praziquantel resistance

Shannan Summers, BMC BugBitten

The scale up of mass drug administration programs may heighten the drug selection pressures on Schistosoma parasites, which could lead to the emergence of drug resistance. Until recently, drug resistance studies on field Schistosoma populations have been hindered by the lack of molecular markers associated with praziquantel resistance. The review discusses praziquantel resistance in the context of alternative factors that may decrease efficacy within endemic field settings, and the most recent treatment guidelines recommended by the WHO.

Knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviours (KAPB) around water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in villagers exposed to schistosomiasis in Zimbabwe

Alexandra R. Lampard-Scotford et al., PLOS Water

The objective of this study was to provide an evidence base to inform policies on increasing end-user adoption of toilets and access to safe water sources. 

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Efficacy and safety of moxidectin and albendazole compared with ivermectin and albendazole coadministration in adolescents infected with Trichuris trichiura in Tanzania: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised, controlled, phase 2/3 trial

Sophie Welsche et al., The Lancet Infectious Diseases

Our findings show inferiority of moxidectin and albendazole to ivermectin and albendazole against T trichiura. However, given the high efficacy, moxidectin coadministration might complement treatment programmes, particularly in areas in which ivermectin is not available.


Kenyan Pastoralists Still Suffer Trachoma Amidst Traditional Beliefs

Dominic Kirui, Talk Africa

Among the Samburu and the Maasai, the flies being a sign of blessings were not supposed to be drawn away from the faces as it would be as if you were driving the benefits away. This has been the main cause of the other type of trachoma that affects children below 15 years and is called Trachomatous Follicular (TF).“It was a belief and we held on to it growing up because we did not want to lose the blessings of milk in our homestead, as we were taught by our elders. But that has been reduced now, with information that we are supposed to maintain cleanliness as taught to us by these health officers who come here. Children now can even carry twigs with leaves to chase the flies away,” Ledauma explains. He is referring to sanitation campaigns and community health talks carried out by public health officers in the area, that have led to a reduction of trachoma cases in Samburu County. 

Chlamydia trachomatis Alters Mitochondrial Protein Composition and Secretes Effector Proteins That Target Mitochondria

Zoe Dimond, Laura D. Bauler, Yixiang Zhang, Aaron Carmody and Ted Hackstadt, American Society for Microbiology

These data support the notion that C. trachomatis specifically targets host mitochondria to manipulate cell fate decisions and metabolic function to support pathogen survival and replication.


How a Passion for Parasites is Making People’s Lives Better

Maëla Séguin, Canadian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

Today I am joined by Dr. Ana Sanchez, who is a professor at Brock University in Ontario. And we are here to discuss her work with neglected tropical diseases, and more specifically, taeniasis and cysticercosis.


Remembering Mr Lazarus Tito Aliel Juziwelo


The HUGS team is deeply shocked and saddened by the very sudden passing of Mr Lazarus Tito Aliel Juziwelo, aged just 52, on the 26th October 2022. His loss will be keenly felt throughout sub-Saharan Africa, not only by the NTD community itself but also by many frontline community health workers in Malawi.

Remembering Dr. Joseph Cook: A Thoughtful Leader and Tropical Disease Visionary

Task Force for Global Health

On October 1, the global health community lost a thoughtful mentor, friend, colleague and devoted advocate to end neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), Dr. Joseph Allen Cook (1934-2022).

Africa Makes History In The Fight Against Sleeping Sickness

Joseph Ndung’u, East African Business Week News

This spring, three African countries recognized a major milestone: Benin, Rwanda, and Uganda have each been validated by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating at least one form of sleeping sickness as a public health problem.

Utilising community volunteers can increase the detection and referral of Buruli ulcer cases in endemic communities in Southeast, Nigeria

Chihurumnanya Alo et al., Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines

We recommend that program managers and stakeholders integrate and scale up the services of trained community health volunteers for the rapid detection of Buruli ulcer cases in rural endemic communities. Awareness and sensitization campaigns on BU preventive measures should be intensified.