Schistosomiasis Treatments Significantly Decrease Prevalence in Africa 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. 

Photo credit: World Health Organization

Lymphatic filariasis

Diagnostics to support elimination of lymphatic filariasis—Development of two target product profiles

Kimberly Y. Won et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

The TPP process brought to the forefront the importance of linking use case, program platform and diagnostic performance characteristics when defining required criteria for diagnostic tools.


Success in the Fight Against Lymphatic Filariasis and Lymphedema

Eric Ottesen and Sarah Sullivan, ASTMH Annual Meeting Blog 2021

The clinical trial results reinforce the importance of hygiene practices in lymphedema management. The positive outcomes in both patient groups likely resulted from repeated training and close attention to local hygiene—emphasizing the importance of such management in the care of LE patients.


River Blindness Declines Along Brazil-Venezuela Border

The Carter Center

After years of hard work and international cooperation, the onchocerciasis elimination programs of Brazil and Venezuela have confined river blindness to the smallest area yet in the Amazon Rainforest. The achievement comes despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


What is the impact of acquired immunity on the transmission of schistosomiasis and the efficacy of current and planned mass drug administration programmes?

Klodeta Kura, Robert J. Hardwick, James E. Truscott and Roy M. Anderson, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

This study aims to provide health workers with quantitative tools to assess what treatment strategies are best applied in given epidemiological settings.

Schistosomiasis: large-scale treatment decreases prevalence by 60% among school-aged children

Ashok Moloo, World Health Organization

Researchers have found that treating school-aged children periodically with praziquantel has decreased the prevalence of schistosomiasis (bilharzia) in sub-Saharan Africa by almost 60% during the past 20 years.

Prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni infection among children in Ethiopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Habtye Bisetegn, Tegegne Eshetu and Yonas Erkihun, Tropical Diseases, Travel Medicine and Vaccines

This study revealed a 37.13% prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni infection among children. This is an alert to improve and implement appropriate control strategies such as mass drug administration in Ethiopia.

Prevalence and intensity of urinary schistosomiasis among selected people in Tulus area, South Darfur State, Sudan

Adel A. Maki, Khalid Hajissa and Gafar A. Ali, International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health

In conclusion, the prevalence of S. haematobium infection in the study participants was remarkably high. However, further studies, including large sample size will be essential to assess the burden of the disease in the study area.

Pyrazoline derivatives as promising novel antischistosomal agents

Cristiane S. Morais et al., Scientific Reports

Collectively, this study demonstrates that pyrazoline derivatives are promising scaffolds in the discovery of novel antischistosomal agents.

Human parasite’s daily rhythms could be targeted for better treatments

Wellcome Sanger Institute

The parasitic worm that causes the neglected tropical disease, schistosomiasis, has daily rhythms in gene expression, including genes that could be targeted in drug development.

Researchers make progress towards a new diagnostic test for schistosomiasis

Emily Henderson, Medical Lifesciences

The result is a point-of-care test strip, not unlike a pregnancy test, that carries recombinant versions of the chosen proteins, and can detect even low-intensity schistosomiasis infections.

Epidemiology of Schistosoma mansoni infection in Ituri Province, north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Maurice M. Nigo et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Our results show that Smansoni is highly endemic and a major health concern in Ituri province, DRC. Infection prevalence and intensity, and the prevailing socioeconomic, environmental, and behavioural risk factors in Ituri reflect intense exposure and alarming transmission rates.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Efficacy and safety of co-administered ivermectin and albendazole in school-aged children and adults infected with Trichuris trichiura in Côte d'Ivoire, Laos, and Pemba Island, Tanzania: a double-blind, parallel-group, phase 3, randomised controlled trial

Eveline Hürlimann et al., The Lancet Infectious Diseases

Treatment with ivermectin–albendazole resulted in higher efficacy against trichuriasis than albendazole alone in Laos and Pemba Island but not in Côte d'Ivoire. We recommend implementation of this combination therapy for soil-transmitted helminth control in countries with high T trichiura prevalence and proven enhanced efficacy of this treatment, particularly where ivermectin is beneficial against other endemic helminthiases.


Model-based geostatistics enables more precise estimates of neglected tropical-disease prevalence in elimination settings: mapping trachoma prevalence in Ethiopia

Benjamin Amoah et al., International Journal of Epidemiology

By accounting for and exploiting spatial correlation in the prevalence data, we achieved remarkably improved precision of prevalence estimates compared with the traditional approach. The geostatistical approach also delivers predictions for unsampled evaluation units that are geographically close to sampled evaluation units.


Chikungunya, Zika, and Dengue virus incidence in Mexico may be higher than previously reported

Eureka Alert

Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses have all been recorded in Mexico; however, recent diagnostic advances have improved the accuracy of serological testing. A study publishing December 2nd in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases by José Esteban Muñoz-Medina at the Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico, and colleagues suggests that current estimates of the incidence of arboviruses in Mexico may have been previously underestimated.

Lessons from the frontline of mental health and leprosy

The Leprosy Mission International

Ruth and Bishnu from TLM Nepal are responsible for supporting persons affected by leprosy with their mental wellbeing, both in the community and at Anandaban Hospital. Here they share some of the lessons they’ve learnt from the frontline of mental health care for persons affected by leprosy.

Leprosy Research Initiative Call for Proposals

Leprosy Research Initiative

The Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI) is pleased to announce a call for proposals for funding commencing in 2023. LRI funds research with a focus on leprosy – including research applications combining leprosy with other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) or other diseases that share cross-cutting issues with leprosy.

“Health is Everyone’s Business:" How Togo is Tackling Sustainable Neglected Tropical Disease Services

Act to End NTDs | West

Health leaders of the Togo Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Access to Care Togo Ministry of Health, along with program officials from the ministries of economy and finance, education, agriculture, and youth and partner organizations gathered in Lomé on November 11th to launch and disseminate the country’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) sustainability plan.