'River blindness leaves scars amid successes' 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.

Lymphatic filariasis

Fight against filaria: Adverse events, refusal to take drug hampers drive in Bihar

Ruchir Kumar, Hindustan Times

All 38 districts of Bihar, which was endemic to lymphatic filariasis, reported 1.25 lakh cases of lymphedema (swelling of limbs) and hydrocele (swelling in the scrotum) in 2020-21. Instances of refusal to consume anti-filarial drugs following reports of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) have hampered Bihar’s mass drug administration (MDA) campaign in 11 districts where the 17-day drive, covering a target population of 4.5 crore, began on September 20, officials said on Monday.


River blindness leaves scars amid successes

Tonny Abet, Monitor (Uganda)

At the age of 38, Tarsis Kentama got river blindness, a disease which affected his eyesight, disfigured his skin and reduced his ability to fend for his family.

"When I got the disease in 1976, I was working in the tea estate as a casual labourer. After some time, I lefithe work because of blurred vision," says Kentama, a resident of Burungu Village in Kabarole District.


Schistosoma mansoni excretory-secretory products induce protein kinase signalling, hyperkinesia, and stem cell proliferation in the opposite sex

Eman M. N. Shakir, Gabriel Rinaldi, Ruth S. Kirk, and Anthony J. Walker, Communications Biology

Adult male and female schistosomes in copula dwell within human blood vessels and lay eggs that cause the major Neglected Tropical Disease human schistosomiasis. How males and females communicate to each other is poorly understood; however, male-female physical interaction is known to be important. Here, we investigate whether excretory-secretory products (ESPs), released into the external milieu by mature Schistosoma mansoni, might induce responses in the opposite sex. We demonstrate that ESPs adhere to the surface of opposite sex worms inducing the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) pathways, particularly in the parasite tegument. Furthermore, we show that mature worms stimulated signalling in juvenile worms. Strikingly, we demonstrate that ESPs from the opposite sex promote stem cell proliferation, in an ERK- and p38 MAPK-dependent manner, in the tegument and within the testes of males, and the ovaries and vitellaria of females. Hyperkinesia also occurs following opposite sex ESP exposure. Our findings support the hypothesis that male and female schistosomes may communicate over distance to modulate key processes underlying worm development and disease progression, opening unique avenues for schistosomiasis control.

Female genital schistosomiasis, human papilloma virus infection, and cervical cancer in rural Madagascar: a cross sectional study

Jean-Marc Kutz et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Women’s health in resource-limited settings can benefit from the integrated management of high-burden diseases, such as female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) and human papilloma virus (HPV)-related cervical cancer. In schistosomiasis-endemic countries such as Madagascar, data on FGS and HPV prevalence are lacking as well as preventive measures for both conditions. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of FGS and HPV in rural Madagascar, and to examine associated risk factors to identify opportunities for improving women’s health.


PAHO Aims to Wipe Out Trachoma in Latin America With Canada’s Help

The Tico Times (Costa Rica)

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced this Friday that it will expand the fight against trachoma, an eye disease that causes blindness, in Latin America thanks to the contribution from Canada. This endemic disease in many poor and remote areas of the world is caused by a bacteria and is transmitted by flies as well as direct contact with the eye secretions of infected people.

Women sharing eye makeup kits risk infection, blindness – Expert

Lara Adejoro, Punch (Nigeria)

Trachoma is one of the oldest diseases known to humans. Bronze Age forceps for depilation, thought to have been used to remove affected people’s eyelashes, have been found in modern Iraq and the disease was common in Ancient Egypt with treatments discussed in the Ebers Papyrus written more than 3,500 years ago. Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. It is the reason that about 1.9 million people around the world are blind or visually impaired. 


PAHO gives new impetus to initiative to eliminate more than 30 communicable diseases following negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Pan American Health Organization

The Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) Elimination Initiative, which seeks to put an end to more than 30 communicable diseases and related conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean, received new impetus today at a session held on the sidelines of the 60th Directing Council of the regional public health institution.


Approximately USD 8 million Investment for New Vaccine and Drug Development against Malaria in Sumitomo Pharma, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and new product development in NTDs

Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund

The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced today an investment of approximately 907 million yen (US$6.2 million) for the development of a new prophylactic vaccine against malaria and a new anti-malarial drug, and approximately 273 million yen (US$1.8 million) for multiple product development projects against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), totaling approximately 1.18 billion yen (US$8.0 million).

2024 Health and Humanitarian Supply Chain Management Certificate Program (HHSCM)

Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems

Earn your professional education certificate in Health and Humanitarian Supply Chain Management (HHSCM), learn from experts, and grow your network! The Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems (CHHS) offers a professional education certificate program designed for practitioners in a variety of organizations, including governmental and non-governmental organizations and the private sector who are active participants in health and humanitarian systems such as disaster preparedness and response, long term development, and public health.

A limited number of scholarships are available thanks to the generous support of The UPS FoundationThe deadline to apply is December 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

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