Togo Recognized for Elimination of Four NTDs 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: World Mosquito Day: CDC’s Efforts to Control the World’s Deadliest Animal—Photo Essay; Credit: Puerto Rico Vector Control Unit

Lymphatic filariasis

World Mosquito Day: CDC’s Efforts to Control the World’s Deadliest Animal—Photo Essay

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In the ongoing fight against debilitating or disfiguring—and often deadly—diseases like malaria, lymphatic filariasis, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, the mosquito remains our principal adversary, and it has long been considered the world’s deadliest animal. In recognition of World Mosquito Day, we call attention to this formidable foe and highlight some of CDC’s efforts to control the species that spread devastating diseases.

Filarial nematode phenotypic screening cascade to identify compounds with anti-parasitic activity for drug discovery optimization

Natalie Hawryluk et al., International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
  • Successful establishment of a screening cascade for filaricidal drug discovery.

  • Chemical series with promising physiochemical and pharmacokinetic properties.

  • Identification of a hit compound with macrofilaricidal efficacy.

Uproar in assembly over elephantiasis in Palghar; no new cases in last two years, say authorities

Rupsa Chakraborty, The Indian Express

Palghar has not witnessed any new cases of elephantiasis in the last two years, claimed officers of the district health department following a disruption in the state assembly on Thursday over alleged rise in cases of the mosquito-borne disease in the district. The district has around 600 cases of elephantiasis at present, the officers told The Indian Express. According to data, of a total of 619 confirmed cases of elephantiasis in the district, a majority – 445 – was reported among females as compared to males among whom only 174 contracted the disease.

World Mosquito Day 2022: List of vector-borne diseases caused by mosquito bite

Zarafshan Shiraz, Hindustan Times (India)

The World Mosquito Day is marked annually on August 20 to raise awareness of the dangers of malaria-carrying mosquitoes and throw a spotlight on ongoing efforts in the fight against the world’s deadliest creature. The global day commemorates the 1897 discovery by British doctor Sir Ronald Ross that female Anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans and this year, the theme is "Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives." Vector-borne diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, leptospirosis, dengue, chikungunya etc.

Elephantiasis plants sting of death in Kamwenge community

Frederic Musisi, Monitor (Uganda)

Soap and detergents are among the most essential, yet basic, items needed by Elephantiasis patients to treat their wounds. The recent rise in prices of household items, including soap which prohibitively costs between Shs7,000 and Shs10,000, pushed many patients to the brink.

Secreted filarial nematode galectins modulate host immune cells

Hannah J. Loghry, Noelle A. Sondjaja, Sarah J. Minkler and Michael J. Kimber, Frontiers in Immunology

Our data shows that an abundantly secreted parasite galectin is immunomodulatory and induces phenotypes consistent with the modified type 2 response characteristic of chronic LF infection.

A qualitative process evaluation of a community conversation intervention to reduce stigma related to lower limb lymphoedema in Northern Ethiopia

Abebayehu Tora et al., BMC Health Services Research

With these challenges addressed, the implementation of CC integrated with other lymphoedema care services shows potential to reduce stigma and promote access to lymphoedema care services.

“A Sign of Love”: Doing Things Differently to End a Disfiguring Disease in Haiti

Amy Veinoglou and Carl Fayette, Act to End NTDs | East

Despite facing political unrest and natural disasters that have driven poverty up across this Caribbean country, Haiti has made great strides in eliminating LF since 2001. In fact, sixty-three percent of the population is no longer at-risk of getting this neglected tropical disease (NTD). The challenge now is to reach the final 18 communes and people in Haiti that are still at-risk for the disease. This requires an annual mass distribution of LF medicines to more than 4.4 million people.

No evidence of lymphatic filariasis transmission in Bamako urban setting after three mass drug administration rounds

Yaya Ibrahim Coulibaly et al., Parasitology Research

Our data indicate that there was no active LF transmission in the low prevalence urban district of Bamako after three MDA rounds. These data helped the National LF programme move forward towards the elimination goal.


Uganda Makes Significant Strides in the Elimination of River Blindness/Onchocerciasis in Africa

Uganda Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health has declared the Budongo and Bwindi foci as free of river blindness transmission. . .

New courses and languages on OpenWHO this month

World Health Organization

Onchocerciasis: training of health workers at national and district levels on skin-NTDs: This course examines the epidemiology of onchocerciasis, clinical aspects, impact, diagnosis, treatment and control, elimination, public health interventions and role of community health workers.

Whole blood transcriptome analysis in onchocerciasis

Ole Lagatie, Linda Batsa Debrah, Alex Y. Debrah and Lieven J. Stuyver, Current Research in Parasitology & Vector-Borne Diseases
  • Whole blood transcriptome analysis was performed in onchocerciasis patients.

  • Suppression of antibodies, Th17, and proliferation of activated T cells.

  • RICTOR plays an important role in inducing the transcriptional changes.

  • A 7-gene expression classifier was built as a tool for onchocerciasis detection.

WATCH: Video: Volunteers in Kebbi State, Nigeria Bring Sight-Saving Treatment to Their Communities

The Task Force for Global Health

Nigeria accounts for 30% of onchocerciasis cases in Africa. Volunteers like Maryam, supported by MDP, the Nigerian Ministry of Health and Sightsavers, are working to break the cycle of transmission and reduce the risk  of disease and potential lifelong disability. Watch the video above to learn more about Maryam and her fellow community drug distributors in Kebbi State.


Fine-scale-mapping of Schistosoma haematobium infections at the school and community levels and intermediate host snail abundance in the north of Pemba Island: baseline cross-sectional survey findings before the onset of a 3-year intervention study

Lydia Trippler et al., Parasites & Vectors

While the S. haematobium prevalence is very low in Pemba, there are many HWCSs with B. globosus situated close to schools or houses that pose a considerable risk of recrudescence. To maintain and accelerate the progress towards interruption of transmission, targeted and cost-effective interventions that are accepted by the community are needed; for example, snail control plus focal MDA, or test-and-treat in schools and households near infested waterbodies.

The prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni infection among adults with chronic non-communicable diseases in Malawi

Wongani Nyangulu et al., Tropical Medicine and Health

We observed moderate prevalence of S. mansoni infection among adults in the study per WHO classification of endemicity. This is within the range observed in children in Mangochi from 10 to 56.7%.

Defining elimination as a public health problem for schistosomiasis control programmes: beyond prevalence of heavy-intensity infections

Ryan E Wiegand et al., The Lancet Global Health

For schistosomiasis, the criterion for elimination as a public health problem (EPHP) is defined as less than 1% prevalence of heavy-intensity infections (ie, ≥50 Schistosoma haematobium eggs per 10 mL of urine or ≥400 Schistosoma mansoni eggs per g of stool). However, we believe the evidence supporting this definition of EPHP is inadequate and the shifting distribution of schistosomiasis morbidity towards more subtle, rather than severe, morbidity in the face of large-scale control programmes requires guidelines to be adapted. 

Pathological Abnormalities Observed on Ultrasonography among Fishermen Associated with Male Genital Schistosomiasis (MGS) along the South Lake Malawi Shoreline in Mangochi District, Malawi

Sekeleghe A. Kayuni et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

In conclusion, pathologies detected in male genitalia by ultrasonography can describe MGS morbidity in those with positive parasitological and molecular findings. Ultrasonography advances and accessibility in endemic areas can support monitoring of pathologies’ resolution after treatment.

Use of wogonin as a cooperative drug with praziquantel to better combat schistosomiasis

Ho Yin Pekkle Lam, Meng-Yun Hung, Po-Ching Cheng and Shih-Yi Peng, Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection

In general, this combinatorial strategy may represent a new and effective approach to schistosomiasis treatment.

Prevalence and risk factors associated with urogenital schistosomiasis among primary school pupils in Nigeria

A. M. Onyekwere et al., Parasite Epidemiology and Control

Nigeria remains endemic for urogenital schistosomiasis as indicated by the data obtained from all the studied sites, and it is clear that efforts need to be intensified in order to control and eradicate the disease throughout the country.

Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors of Urinary Schistosomiasis among Primary School Pupils in the Jidawa and Zobiya Communities of Jigawa State, Nigeria

J. B. Balogun et al., Annals of Global Health

Both the Jidawa and Zobiya communities of the Dutse LGAs of Jigawa State are hyperendemic for UgS. In collaboration with the State Ministry of Health, mass administration of praziquantel was carried out in the Jidawa and Zobiya communities after this study.

Urogenital schistosomiasis transmission, malaria and anemia among school-age children in Northern Ghana

Sylvester Dassah et al., Heliyon

This study has revealed that urinary schistosomiasis remains prevalent in Kassena-Nankana East district and suggests that urinary schistosomiasis may contribute to moderate anemia among school-age children as compared to asymptomatic malaria infection. These findings call for an evaluation of the annual mass drug administration of Praziquantel among in-school children to ascertain its impact on urinary schistosomiasis prevalence across the district.

A review of the genetic determinants of praziquantel resistance in Schistosoma mansoni: Is praziquantel and intestinal schistosomiasis a perfect match?

Shannan Summers et al., Frontiers in Tropical Diseases

Until recently, drug resistance studies have been hindered by the lack of molecular markers associated with PZQ resistance. This review discusses recent significant advances in understanding the molecular basis of PZQ action in S. mansoni and proposes additional genetic determinants associated with PZQ resistance.

Stakeholders’ Perspectives on the Application of New Diagnostic Devices for Urinary Schistosomiasis in Oyo State, Nigeria: A Q-Methodology Approach

Karlheinz Tondo Samenjo et al., Global Health: Science and Practice
  • Q-methodology served as a rigorous tool to identify the needs and product-service design requirements of stakeholders throughout the health care system.

  • Stakeholders at various levels of the health care system shared that new diagnostic devices for schistosomiasis should: be available at the point of need and require minimal infrastructure to increase diagnostic capacity and surveillance, particularly in rural or distant settings; be less expensive to make diagnostic testing more affordable; and be able to identify infection status before treatment to support the identification and prioritization of patients or areas in need of treatment.

Sustainable Elimination of Schistosomiasis in Ethiopia—A Five-Year Follow-Up Study

Lotte Ben Gal et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

These results demonstrate the long-term success of NALAs’ comprehensive model of intervention for elimination of schistosomiasis in school children, combining behavioral change and improved sanitation with MDA.

Impact of Praziquantel on Schistosomiasis Infection and the Status of Proteinuria and Hematuria among School Children Living in Schistosoma mansoni-Endemic Communities in Northwestern Tanzania

Neema Kayange et al., Advances in Infectious Diseases

This study demonstrates that PZQ leads to significant reductions of S. mansoni using CCA test, reductions in proteinuria, and hematuria in school children in Tanzania. There was complete remission in eGFR < 90 ml/min/1.73 m2 from 3.9% to 0% at 6 months. This suggests that praziquantel is effective, but there is still a need for integrated strategies to minimize reinfections.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Fine mapping of Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm infections in sub-districts of Makenene in Centre Region of Cameroun

Cyrille Nguemnang Kamdem et al., Scientific Reports

This study was designed to assess the prevalence and infections intensities of soil-transmitted helminths and perform micro scale mapping in order to identify transmission hot-spots for targeted control operations. . . Fine mapping revealed that children harbouring heavy infections were clustered in the same sub-districts; highlighting the presence of high endemicity sub-districts and hot-spots for the transmission of different soil-transmitted helminth species. This study showed a diversity in the prevalence and transmission of different soil-transmitted helminth species. It also highlighted the need for micro scale mapping to enable the localisation of high endemicity sub-districts and transmission hot-spot sites where targeted control operations must be deployed to achieve STH elimination.

A prevalence-based transmission model for the study of the epidemiology and control of soil-transmitted helminthiasis

Nyuk Sian Chong, Robert J. Hardwick, Stacey R. Smith, James E. Truscott and Roy M. Anderson, PLOS One

We develop a prevalence-based deterministic model to investigate the transmission dynamics of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in humans, subject to continuous exposure to infection over time. We analytically determine local stability criteria for all equilibria and find bifurcation points. Our model predicts that STH infection will either be eliminated (if the initial prevalence value, y(0), is sufficiently small) or remain endemic (if y(0) is sufficiently large), with the two stable points of endemic infection and parasite eradication separated by a transmission breakpoint.

Efficacy of triple dose albendazole treatment for soil-transmitted helminth infections

Mian Zi Tee et al., PLOS One

In conclusion, STH infections are highly prevalent among indigenous communities. Children and teenagers, poor sanitation and hygiene behaviour were determinants for STH infections. Triple dose albendazole is found to be efficacious against Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm infections but has moderate curative effect with high ERR against Ttrichiura. Although triple dose albendazole regimen has logistic challenges and may not be a routine option, consideration of this treatment regime may still be necessary in selective communities to reduce high intensity of Ttrichiura infection.

Using Routinely Collected Health Records to Identify the Fine-Resolution Spatial Patterns of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in Rwanda

Elias Nyandwi et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

Findings show that the spatial distribution of STH incidence is significantly associated with soil properties (sand proportion and pH), rainfall, wetlands and their uses, population density and proportion of rural residents. Identified spatial patterns are important for guiding STH prevention and control programs.

DeWorm3 generates evidence about the cost, acceptability, and optimal delivery of community-wide mass drug administration

Global WACh

The DeWorm3 research team recently published three new publications in BMJ Open and BMC Health Services regarding cMDA implementation with findings on the optimal implementation packages for delivering high coverage cMDA for STH, the costs of cMDA vs school-based deworming (SBD), and the implementation climate for cMDA for STH. In summary, researchers found that in these heterogenous settings certain factors influence high cMDA coverage including acceptability and community sensitization, existing widespread and reliable drug distribution platforms, and robust training of implementors. 

Holy Helminths! Augustinian friars and their parasites.

Anouk Gouvras, BugBitten

A study in Cambridge investigated and compared the worm burden of friars living in a monastery in medieval England with that of towns people in the local parish. The surprising findings suggest that despite having better infrastructure, nutrition and life expectancy, the Augustinian friars had a higher prevalence of helminths compared to the local population. The reason could be due to farming practices.


Vanuatu eliminates trachoma as a public health problem

International Coalition for Trachoma Control

Vanuatu has been validated by the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating trachoma as a public health problem. It is the first country in the Pacific Islands, the fourth country in the WHO Western Pacific Region and 14th country globally to achieve this milestone.

World Health Organization reports reduction in the number of people at risk from trachoma

International Coalition for Trachoma Control

The number of people at risk from trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness, fell from 136.2 million in 2021 to 125 million in 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported in its Weekly Epidemiological Record.

Current status of trachoma in India: Results from the National Trachoma Prevalence Survey

Gupta, Noopur et al., Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

TF was not a public health problem in any of the districts surveyed; thus, antibiotic mass drug administration is not needed. However, TT among adults was found to be above 0.2% in four districts; thus, further trichiasis surgery interventions at the public health level are warranted to achieve elimination. These findings will facilitate planning for elimination of trachoma as a public health problem in India.

Trachoma still exists in remote Indigenous communities as Australia fails to meet eradication targets

Stephanie Boltje, The Drum (Australia)

Imogen McLean is one of the NT Health nurses looking for any traces of trachoma in the children's eyes. She works in pop-up clinics focusing on children ages 5 to 9. "It gives us a good overall picture and tells us what is going on in community," Ms McLean told The Drum. . .The University of Melbourne, which takes part in these clinics, says progress has been made to close the gap for avoidable blindness by 2025 with the work done to address trachoma. But there remain 16 trachoma hotspot areas.

Lessons learned in the implementation of programmes to eliminate trachoma within conflict zones

Georges Yaya, Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

In places where there is armed conflict, the strategy for approaching populations and implementing activities requires special precautions to be taken, but above all a situational analysis on a case-by-case basis. . .These two categories of people, fairly well organised and structured, with different aspirations, will behave in different ways to the communities and health workers in the field.


YCNTDs: Our call to action to all ages as we work towards a Neglected Tropical Disease-Free Generation

Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases

In honour of International Youth Day 2022 and its theme of intergenerational solidarity, we spoke with two health sector leaders and NTD advocates to better understand the disproportionate effects of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) on elderly and young people and how all ages can effectively work together to achieve an NTD free generation. In the following interview, Dr. Neneh Sallah, a Scientist and Youth Advisory Board Member at Youth Combating NTDs spoke with Professor Francisca Mutapi from the Global Health Infection and Immunity department at the University of Edinburgh and Uniting to Combat NTDs board member. Together, they explored the need for intergenerational collaboration and the challenges that perpetuate due to ageism and health inequity.

Process evaluation of complex interventions in non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review

Maria Lazo-Porras et al., BMJ Open

PEs [process evaluation] in NCDs [non-communicable diseases] and NTDs are used in LMICs [low- and middle-income countries] with a wide variety of methods. This review identified many PEs that were not labelled by the authors as such, as well as a limited application of PE-related theories and frameworks, and heterogeneous reporting of this type of study.


WHO Director-General congratulates Togo on becoming first country to eliminate four neglected tropical diseases


WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, today extended his congratulations to the Republic of Togo, as it was confirmed that the West African country had become the first country to eliminate four devastating neglected tropical diseases.

Expanded Scope for Proposals: African Researchers’ Small Grants Program (SGP VI)


The African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation), through the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), is seeking proposals for both operational and implementation research on ‘’Emerging Challenges facing Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) program implementation in Africa.’’ This sixth edition of the Small Grants Program (SGP VI) is to support African researchers in both early and mid/late career to undertake operational or implementation research aligned with the goals established in the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. Deadline for submission: Sept. 30.

Operational research to support the elimination of communicable diseases in the Latin America and Caribbean Region


The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), jointly with the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), is pleased to announce the 2022–2023 Impact Grants for Regional Priorities call for applications for operational research to support the elimination of communicable diseases in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region. Deadline for submission: 10 October 2022 (23:59 Eastern Standard Time)

Philippines’ inadequate measures have led to failure in reducing the incidence of rabies

Emily Henderson, News Medical LifeSciences

Although the Philippines introduced the standard 'intra-dermal' vaccine regimen as far back as 1997 and also has animal bite care centers equipped for advanced treatment with rabies immunoglobulin, a medicine to provide protection against rabies, the country has reported 200-300 rabies deaths each year since 2007, according to researchers.

Re-emerging threat of Trypanosoma cruzi vector transmission in El Salvador, update from 2018 to 2020

Marvin Stanley Rodríguez et al., Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Our comprehensive study revealed substantial T. cruzi infection of T. dimidiata across the country, indicating potential active transmission of the disease. Therefore, strengthened surveillance for both vector and human infection is required to truly eliminate the risk of T. cruzi transmission in Central America.

Leishmaniasis: PAHO publishes updated treatment guidelines for the Americas

Pan American Health Organzation

The guidelines for the treatment of leishmaniasis in the Americas, which were presented this week at the 7th World Congress on Leishmaniasis in Cartagena, Colombia, aim to expand access to treatment and improve patient outcomes.

Quantifying Population Burden and Effectiveness of Decentralized Surveillance Strategies for Skin-Presenting Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liberia

Joseph W S Timothy et al., National Institutes of Health PubMed

This community health worker‒led approach showed a higher skin NTD burden than prevailing surveillance mechanisms, but also showed high (95.1%) and equitable population coverage. Specialized training and task-shifting of diagnoses to midlevel health workers led to reliable identification of skin NTDs, but reliability of individual diagnoses varied. This multifaceted evaluation of skin NTD surveillance strategies quantifies benefits and limitations of key approaches promoted by the 2030 NTD roadmap of the World Health Organization.

Potential drivers of leprosy infection: A case–control study of parasitic coinfection and water, sanitation, and hygiene in North Gondar, Ethiopia

Megan K. Wasson et al., Frontiers in Tropical Diseases

Taken together, these findings strengthen previous research conducted in 2018 implicating poor WASH conditions as a driver of leprosy infection. Leprosy remains the leading infectious cause of disability in the world. As such, future research should explore the above susceptibilities in more depth to curtail the global burden of disease.


NOTE - Events may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers to confirm events. 

'Must Reach': Integrating Gender Equity and Social Inclusion to Eliminate NTDs 
September 8, 2022
USAID’s Act to End Neglected Tropical Diseases | East (Act | East) 

2022 NNN Conference
Sept. 13-15, 2022
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network

Implementing the WHO Strategy for Prevention and Control of Snakebite Envenoming: Progress and Plans
Sept. 19, 2022
World Health Organization

2022 COR-NTD Annual Meeting
October 4-5, 2022
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

The 20th International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria (ICTMM)
October 24 - 28, 2022
MESA Alliance 

2022 ASTMH Annual Meeting
October 30-November 3, 2022
American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene 

21st International Leprosy Congress 2022
November 8-10, 2022

Mainstreaming of NTD programs: Exploring the transition of schistosomiasis/soil transmitted helminths MDA in Nigeria and the non-participation/zero dose in disease campaigns in Indonesia and Ghana in projects supported by HCEC
November 16, 2022
COR-NTD Research Links

Achieving the WHO 2030 NTD Roadmap goals: systems and data-driven approaches to improve program strategy, planning and implementation for the elimination of PC-NTDs
January 17, 2023
COR-NTD Research Links

Maximizing the untapped potential of NTD platforms to reach marginalized communities during future global health crises
February 7, 2023
COR-NTD Research Links