River Blindness 'Still Major Issue' & 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.”

Photo Credit: RTI International/Oscar Siagian

Lymphatic filariasis

Up all night: How lab technicians are supporting Indonesia’s effort to eliminate neglected tropical diseases

Alexis Serna and Endri Budiwan, RTI International

When Indonesia’s Ministry of Health does a survey of lymphatic filariasis, [Arief Rakhman] often joins other health workers to supervise the night blood surveys used to detect this neglected tropical disease. These assignments take him to some of the most remote places in Indonesia, requiring travel by boat, motorcycle, car, and foot in the middle of the night.


Cameroon Says River Blindness Still a Major Health Issue

Moki Edwin Kindzeka, Voice of America

Hospitals in Cameroon are reporting an increase in cases of river blindness, a parasitic disease caused by bites from infected blackflies. Hundreds of aid workers have been dispatched to remote, riverside villages to encourage those infected to seek treatment.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

University Hospital Bonn coordinates eWHORM project to combat worm infections in sub-Saharan Africa

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, News Medical LifeSciences

To combat various soil-transmitted helminths (STH) and filarial worms, a new multidisciplinary consortium of research institutes, universities and not-for-profit organisations in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Europe, coordinated by the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) in Germany, will work together to establish a new adaptive clinical trial platform and improve the clinical research infrastructure in several SSA countries.


Why children in US territories are 'bearing the burden' of neglected tropical disease

Nada Hassanein, USA Today

Dengue fever is on the rise in U.S. territories in the Caribbean, and a recent study estimates more than half of children in the U.S. Virgin Islands have had a prior infection. Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause a fever and rash. Severe infections, particularly secondary ones, can be fatal.

Kala-azar: We don't know where it comes from but it kills a lot of people

Sara Okuoro, The Standard (Kenya)

Kala-azar, is not only one of the most neglected tropical diseases but also one of the deadliest. It is almost always fatal if untreated and has spread to become endemic in many parts of Ethiopia after first being documented in 1942. More than 3,2 million people across the country are at risk.

A deadly disease so neglected it's not even on the list of neglected tropical diseases

Max Barnhart, NPR

Noma can be successfully treated in its early stages with routine and widely available antibiotics. Any basic health-care system with a knowledge of noma can treat patients easily. But therein lies the problem: Noma is found in places that don't have access to that basic level of care. For patients in remote communities, the hospitals that can diagnose and treat noma are often far away. Unfortunately by the time families recognize that an infected child needs medical attention, it might already be too late.


Ministry of Health and Child Care Unveils New Strategy to Eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases

Tatenda Chimbwanda, World Health Organization

Zimbabwe is endemic to 14 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), including bilharzia, intestinal worms, elephantiasis, blinding trachoma, rabies, leprosy, sleeping sickness, anthrax, plague, snake bite envenoming, Cysticercosis (Taeniasis) and Foodborne trematodes infections (clonorchiasis, fascioliasis, and opisthorchiasis). The top four NTDs in Zimbabwe being bilharzia, intestinal worms, elephantiasis, and blinding trachoma.

According to the NTDs Impact Assessment report for 2018, bilharzia and intestinal worms are co-endemic in several districts across the country. The government, with support of partners, has been responding to this challenge through integrated interventions such as Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives, surgery for certain forms of advanced disease, environmental improvements, behavior change communication (BCC) interventions, and mass treatment to reduce transmission.

Skin NTDs widespread in Upper East Region; project launched to combat them

Ghana Web

The Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC) and the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) have jointly launched a project to combat skin Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the Upper East Region. The two-year project, funded by ANESVAD Foundation and dubbed "Strengthening and Building Capacity to Combat Skin NTDs in Ghana," was launched on Friday in the Bongo District.

Neglected tropical diseases risk correlates with poverty and early ecosystem destruction

Arthur Ramalho Magalhães, et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Neglected tropical diseases affect the most vulnerable populations and cause chronic and debilitating disorders. Socioeconomic vulnerability is a well-known and important determinant of neglected tropical diseases. For example, poverty and sanitation could influence parasite transmission. Nevertheless, the quantitative impact of socioeconomic conditions on disease transmission risk remains poorly explored.

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