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.
Photo: Launch of UN Group of Friends on Neglected Tropical Diseases and on Support of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Healthcare Facilities
Photo Credit: World Health Organization
The Global Programme for the elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) conducted a study to understand the psycho-social impact of LF on the affected people. It was found that stigma, self-perception, and social misperception about the disease are widely prevalent as 1/4th of the study population were not aware of the causes of LF, and almost half of the cases did not know whether it is a communicable disease or not.
With a view to eliminating lymphatic filariasis (LF), the state health department has begun mass drug administration (MDA)n Aurangabad, Sheikhpura and Sheohar districts.
The current literature and available information on the burden of filarial morbidity, as well as the implementation of structured services with regard to morbidity assistance in the Americas, were all found to be scarce.
Impact of Semi-Annual Albendazole on Lymphatic Filariasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection: Parasitological Assessment after 14 Rounds of Community Treatment
No microfilariae were found in night blood smears from persons with circulating filarial antigenemia (0 of 16), suggesting that W. bancrofti transmission has been interrupted in Seke Pembe. Semi-annual albendazole treatments also reduced significantly infection rates with soil-transmitted helminths.
Of the 100 patients, 70% were aware of the program and among them, only 48% were practising MMDP regularly (i.e. two times per day). The majority of them (80%) were taking treatment during ADL attacks. The overall lymphedema grades reversal and progression were observed in 13% and 52% of cases, respectively. . . This study has revealed that the second arm of the GPELF, “MMDP” has not yielded the desired results as evidenced by the incidence of frequent ADL attacks and advancement of lymphedema grades.
A new drug developed by an LSTM led partnership, which targets the neglected tropical diseases lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis has begun its first in human trial. . .AWZ1066S was administered to the first participant enrolled in a Phase I clinical trial being held at the NIHR Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Clinical Research Facility, based at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on December 21.
Morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP)—properly addressing symptoms in order to prevent disease progression—involves each of these types of care, and is key to keeping LF patients healthy. That is why American Leprosy Missions (ALM), as part of Act to End NTDs | West activities, is working with Ghana’s NTD Program to improve MMDP across the country.
The elimination of river blindness in Nigeria’s Plateau and Nasarawa states, as confirmed by a recent analysis, shows the value of partnership and persistence in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.
Blackfly native bacteria are then potentially involved in infection by O. volvulus, either by facilitating or preventing the parasite infestation of the vector. These bacteria represent an interesting potential as a biological tool/target for a novel approach of vector control to fight onchocerciasis.
News: Ethiopia interrupts river blindness transmission in three more districts in Oromia; more than half a million people no longer need mass drug administration
The Ethiopia Onchocerciasis Elimination Expert Advisory Committee (EOEEAC), during its 8th annual meeting held virtually from October 26-28, 2021, recommended second area where drug distribution could be stopped in Ethiopia, this time in Oromia region (Tiro Afeta, Chora Botor and Limu Kosa districts). Serological blood tests in humans and examination of black flies for parasites showed no significant infections and were below the World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off. The Ministry of Health (MoH) accepted the EOEEAC recommendation, and, as a result, 508,000 people no longer need mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin.
The high percentage of PWE [persons with epilepsy] who met the diagnostic criteria for OAE [Onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy] suggests that better onchocerciasis control could prevent new cases.
The researchers’ aim is to attack elements of the parasite’s metabolism that are essential for the survival of the organism, with the goal of finding drugs that may be able to attack more than one species of parasite at once.
As countries get closer to eliminating one or more neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), some communities or population groups are at risk of being left behind. As part of our research in Cameroon, we have been exploring new ways to find and treat semi-nomadic people for river blindness. We’ve used local guides, mobile apps and satellite imagery in order to find and include these remote communities.
User-friendly interfaces have been increasingly used to facilitate the learning of advanced statistical methodology, especially for students with only minimal statistical training. . . .MBGapp is available as an R package and as a Shiny web-application that can be freely accessed on any web browser.
Study reveals how the parasitic worm can mutate to evade the main drug against schistosomiasis.
Our results indicate that B. truncatus appears to be a potential intermediate host of schistosomiasis in Gabon, where cases of S. haematobium, S. guineensis, and S. intercalatum infection are reported. However, it will be important to further understand the species diversity and transmission dynamics of schistosomes.
Reported administrative coverage across all studied was higher than survey coverage, 92.7% and 91.2% for ALB and PZQ, respectively. A significant portion of individuals (17.6%) were not offered PC. The predominant reason for not achieving the target coverage of 90% was beneficiary absenteeism during MDA (6.6% ALB, 6.8% PZQ), followed by drug distributors failing to reach all households (4.7% ALB, 4.8% PZQ), and beneficiaries not informed of the program (1.3% ALB, 1.7% PZQ).
The results indicated that repeated MDAs (2–4 times a year for 3 years) using albendazole on schoolchildren in Myanmar failed to control T. trichiura infection. For a successful control of trichuriasis in Myanmar, new MDA strategies, using a modified albendazole regimen (multiple daily doses for 2 or 3 days) or an alternative anthelmintic drug, such as oxantel pamoate, is strongly recommended.
Results found that the 500-mg mebendazole chewable tablet was classified as “positively accepted” in children aged 2 to 4 years. Acceptability increased with age and some acceptability issue remain for the younger children.
A relatively low burden of parasites co-infection among children only in the Southern communities was detected. However, there were a high prevalence of single infections of P. falciparum and S. mansoni in those communities. Control measures for the helminths needs to be restarted in the island communities with a high burden of S. mansoni infections and that of Plasmodium needs to be scaled up in Ada Foah where P. falciparum infections were high.
Surveys are the primary tool used to determine the need for trachoma interventions. One-size-fits all survey designs are likely an inefficient use of funds in many instances. We aimed to evaluate the efficiency and precision of alternative survey designs. Sampling <30 clusters often achieves equally precise estimates with less cost waste. Survey design should be evidence-based where data are available.
Discord between presence of follicular conjunctivitis and Chlamydia trachomatis infection in a single Torres Strait Island community: a cross-sectional survey
Follicular conjunctivitis consistent with TF [trachomatous inflammation – follicular] was prevalent but ocular C. trachomatis and cicatricial trachoma were absent. Non-chlamydial infections or environmental causes of follicular conjunctivitis may be causing TF in this community.
Significant progress has been made to reduce blindness and increase access to eye health across the Gambia, with further work is needed to decrease the risk of MSVI [moderate or severe vision impairment].
The Government through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Amref Health Africa, have launched a five-day Mass Drug Administration (MDA) exercise against trachoma, to all residents of Samburu County. . . Nyakundi noted that the Government has made strides in reducing trachoma in Samburu County, saying that its currently affecting 6.2 percent of children aged between one and nine years, which he noted is a reduction from 35 percent in 2004 and the late stage of the disease in those aged 15 years and above has decreased to 0.44 percent from 6 percent in 2004.
As smartphones take up more space in our daily lives, even to play online, some companies continue to find inventive ways to use these powerful tools. Sightsavers is one of those companies. The firm came up with a surprising, brilliant idea: using Android devices to collect data in emerging countries to help cure Trachoma.
On 30 November and 10 December respectively, WUN teamed up with the Ambassadors of Brazil, India, Indonesia and Senegal to launch the UN Group of Friends on Defeating Neglected Tropical Diseases and with the Ambassadors of Hungary and the Philippines, to launch the UN Group of Friends in Support of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Healthcare Facilities. The objective of the Groups is to raise awareness, exchange information, build coalitions and political momentum, support initiatives and mobilize resources directed towards addressing both issues.
The new road map provides an opportunity to create platforms to make young people essential participants in combating these diseases. The WHO stated that recent progress has depended on research as a critical component of diagnoses, treatment strategies and ways to reach hard-to-reach groups. . .
Egypt has obtained the WHO’s certification that it is free from lymphatic filariasis as a threat to public health and exerts continuous efforts to eliminate leprosy, rabies, trachoma and Schistosomiasis.
For the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, we identified 414 patients diagnosed with leprosy and CL between 2008 and 2017, spatially concentrated mainly in the North and Northeast mesoregions. The individual probability of developing both diseases increased from 0.2% to 1.0% within seven years. Male sex, being in the 40–55 years age group, and low levels of schooling were the risk factors positively associated with the time interval between the diagnosis of both diseases. These findings may inform the implementation of integrated leprosy and CL control policies focused on timely diagnosis.
The three-dose regimen leads to “a tremendous reduction” in disease, says Oriol Mitjà, an infectious disease researcher at the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, who led the study. “It’s positive. And the way to go for eradication. But we did not achieve eradication.”
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