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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
The Ministry of Health has declared the Budongo and Bwindi foci as free of river blindness transmission. . .
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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
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.
Fine mapping of Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm infections in sub-districts of Makenene in Centre Region of Cameroun
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
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.
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 T. trichiura. 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 T. trichiura infection.
Using Routinely Collected Health Records to Identify the Fine-Resolution Spatial Patterns of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in Rwanda
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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
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
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