World Toilet Day brought changing hygiene behaviors into the spotlight 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 nor the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center. Photo credit: WHO

Lymphatic filariasis

New Evidence that Mass Treatment with Ivermectin Has Halted Spread of River Blindness in Two Nigerian States; Separate Study Shows Drug’s Potential to Interrupt West Nile Virus Transmission in US

Preeti Singh and Bridget DeSimone, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

New data indicate that mass treatment with ivermectin—a drug that was a workhorse of tropical medicine long before it emerged as a controversial COVID-19 treatment—has eliminated river blindness transmission in two states in Nigeria, the first Nigerian states to achieve this distinction in a country that has the world’s highest burden of the disease.

Drive To Eliminate Elephantiasis In East Africa

Godfrey Ivudria, EABW News (Nairobi)

However, rapid mapping of the new gaps in funding has now brought emergency funds, with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation stepping in to finance Crown Agents to deliver the Dar es Salaam treatments, as well as mass drug administrations in Zanzibar and, for other Neglected Tropical Diseases, in Kenya and Uganda.

Prevalence of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Species Among Filarial Lymphedema Patients in Ahanta West District of Ghana

Solomon Wireko et al., Frontiers in Tropical Diseases

These results suggest that MRSA species may pose a challenge to the treatment of filarial lymphedema with antibiotics particularly, as doxycycline is currently being piloted in some endemic areas to treat the infection. Thus, intensive antimicrobial resistance surveillance should be conducted in endemic areas by health authorities to forestall the dilemma of multidrug resistance not only against lymphatic filariasis (LF) infection but other diseases.

Filariasis in PH: A neglected but discriminatory disease

Cristina Eloisa Baclig, Inquirer

The number of districts in the country requiring and implementing preventive chemotherapy for lymphatic filariasis has also decreased to two in 2020.

The WHO’s data showed that the nationwide coverage of preventive chemotherapy for lymphatic filariasis in the Philippines has improved during the past six years.


An Integrated District Mapping Strategy for Loiasis to Enable Safe Mass Treatment for Onchocerciasis in Gabon

Sylvie Ntsame Ella et al., The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

New loiasis diagnostics (LoaScope; Loa antibody rapid test) and risk prediction tools may enable safe mass treatment decisions in co-endemic areas. In 2017-2018, an integrated mapping strategy for onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), and loiasis, aimed at enabling safe ivermectin treatment decisions, was piloted in Gabon. 

Onchocerciasis elimination: achieving NTD road map targets, despite current pandemic challenges

Ashok Moloo, World Health Organization

Data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that, in 2020, countries endemic for onchocerciasis continued to make progress in interrupting transmission of the disease, despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries were able to implement large-scale treatment campaigns by observing robust COVID-19 risk mitigation measures.  

River blindness increases in Uganda

Raziah Athman, Africa News

Ten years ago, Uganda had successfully interrupted the transmission of river blindness with aggressive initiatives including deploying airplanes to spray chemicals that killed black flies. Now experts are worried there could already be cases.

“We have taken long without conducting the spraying and as a result they are having good breeding ground and possibly that could explain why the numbers of black flies are increasing. And it is all worrying us, first of all it indicates that we are at a very high risk of getting river blindness again – resurgence of river blindness in the region,” said Dr. Kenneth Cana, acting district health officer for Gulu.

Tandem Use of OvMANE1 and Ov-16 ELISA Tests Increases the Sensitivity for the Diagnosis of Human Onchocerciasis

Cabirou Mounchili Shintouo et al., Life

In conclusion, the tandem use of OvMANE1 and Ov-16 tests improves the sensitivity of detecting Onchocerca volvulus seropositive individuals, but the OvMANE1 test needs to be further evaluated.


Immunomics-guided discovery of serum and urine antibodies for diagnosing urogenital schistosomiasis: a biomarker identification study

Mark S Pearson et al., The Lancet Microbe

We identified numerous biomarkers of urogenital schistosomiasis that could form the basis of novel antibody diagnostics for this disease. Two of these antigens, Sh-TSP-2 and MS3_01370, could be used as sensitive, specific, and field-deployable diagnostics to support schistosomiasis control and elimination initiatives, with particular focus on post-elimination surveillance.

From the One Health Perspective: Schistosomiasis Japonica and Flooding

Su-Ying Guo et al., Pathogens

In conclusion, flooding is one of the important factors affecting the transmission of schistosomiasis japonica. 

Risk Factors and Spatial Distribution of Schistosoma mansoni Infection among Preschool-Aged Children in Blapleu, Biankouma District, Western Côte d’Ivoire

Constant Konan N’Zi et al., Journal of Tropical Medicine

This study aims to identify the risk factors and spatial distribution of S. mansoni infection among PSAC [pre-school aged children]  in Blapleu, endemic foci of S. mansoni

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Un-‘Egg’-Plored: Characterisation of Embryonation in the Whipworm Model Organism Trichuris muris

Ruth Forman et al., Frontiers in Tropical Diseases

With the threat of elevation in global temperatures, the accelerated embryonation rate we observe at higher temperatures may have important consequences for parasite transmission rates and prospective modelling studies. In addition, a deeper understanding of the Trichuris ova may allow the development of novel control strategies targeting the egg stage of Trichuris in the environment as an adjunct to MDA.

Soil Transmitted Helminths and Plasmodium falciparum Co-infections among School Children in Bugesera District, Rwanda: Implications for National Control Programs

Umwanankundi Marcelline et al., International Journal of Tropical Disease & Health

Helminthiasis and malaria remain dominant, in spite of the continuing and tremendous national control programs. The strikingly surprising higher prevalence of A. lumbricoides-P. falciparum co-infection in girls calls for additional investigations.

Perspective: Opportunities and Scope for Expanded Deworming Programs for Soil-Transmitted Helminths in India

Kumudha Aruldas, Ajay Kumar Khera and Sitara Swarna Rao Ajjampur, Frontiers in Tropical Diseaes

The gaps in deworming are women above the age of 49 and adult men above 19 years, living in non-LF endemic areas. Understanding gaps in deworming will help plan policy changes and program strategies for STH elimination in India, which has 21% of the global STH burden, as well as in other STH endemic countries.

Kakamega Rolls Out Campaign Against Bilharzia, Worms

Margaret Andeso, Kenya News Agency

The County government of Kakamega has rolled out a mass drug administration to control the spread of Bilharzia and parasitic worm infestation that has been on an upsurge in the area.

According to the County Director for Public Health, Dr. William Okello, the move follows a survey and tests that were conducted in September this year which revealed that large number of residents were infected.


Persistence and Significance of Chlamydia trachomatis in the Housefly, Musca domestica L.

Natalie Brewer et al., Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

The data confirmed the presence of C. trachomatis DNA and viable elementary bodies (EBs) in fly crops, up to 24 h postfeeding. . . These data also confirm, for the first time, that ingested chlamydia remains viable inside the flies for 24–48 h postfeeding. We further show that these flies can regurgitate and transmit the trachoma agent at their next feeding. We believe that these findings reveal an opportunity for efficient intervention strategies through fly vector control, especially as we near new target date for global elimination of trachoma.

Sightsavers and GLIDE pioneer new ways to fight river blindness


Sightsavers and the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) have united to help eliminate river blindness in Africa. This includes testing innovative ways to collect and analyse the flies that spread the disease.

Changing hygiene behaviours: a cluster-randomized trial, Ethiopia

Solomon Aragie et al., Bulletin of the World Health Organization

The community- and school-based intervention was associated with improved hygiene access and behaviours, although changes in behaviour were slow and required several years of the intervention.


WHO and Bayer renew longstanding collaboration to accelerate control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases

Ashok Moloo, World Health Organization

The five-year agreement involves the donation of quality-assured medicines for treatment of Chagas disease and human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), estimated at US$ 8 million.

Balantidiasis: A Neglected Tropical Disease Used as a Study Model for a Holistic Approach to Sustainable Development in the Framework of Agenda 2030 Goals

Luca Nalbone, Filippo Giarratana and Ettore Napoli, Sustainability

In this review article, balantidiasis was used as a model to demonstrate how proper management of NTZs [neglected tropical zoonoses] falls in all the SDGs and how a holistic approach to animal and human diseases could improve their health status and other aspects of their being. In this manuscript, the SDGs were divided in three pillars: (i) social, (ii) economic, and (iii) environmental. This theoretical division helps to demonstrate that the presence and, consequently, the control of an NTZ could be reflected on all the 17 SDGs.

Human challenge study to lay the foundations for vaccine development for neglected tropical disease

University of York

The University of York is leading a study to develop a controlled human infection model to pave the way for testing new vaccines against the neglected disease leishmaniasis.

Towards the elimination of visceral leishmaniasis as a public health problem in east Africa: reflections on an enhanced control strategy and a call for action

Jorge Alvar, Margriet den Boer and Daniel Argaw Dagne, The Lancet Global Health

In this Health Policy paper, we propose a strategic framework for a coordinated regional approach in east Africa for the elimination of visceral leishmaniasis as a public health problem.

World Toilet Day, 19 November 2021: Valuing Toilets

World Health Organization

Each year, World Toilet Day on 19 November highlights the importance of sanitation and hygiene in driving improvements in public health, gender equality, education, economic development and environmental protection. This year’s theme is ‘Valuing Toilets’.

Neglected Tropical Diseases Are No Longer Solely a Tropical Concern, Dr. Kishor Wasan Says

Caroline Hunter, EIN Presswire

The reality of the twenty-first century is that any disease can have global impact. Neglected global diseases are no longer confined to the tropics. And holistic approaches to the public health issues they raise cannot be confined to developing economies.

Integrated serological surveillance of acute febrile illness in the context of a lymphatic filariasis survey in Timor-Leste: a pilot study using dried blood spots

Paul Arkell et al., Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

While dengue seroprevalence was lower than in nearby countries, results represent the first evidence of scrub typhus and leptospirosis transmission in Timor-Leste. Integrated programmes of serological surveillance could greatly improve our understanding of infectious disease epidemiology in remote areas and would incur minimal additional fieldwork costs. 


Why we should reconsider population data for disease control and public health progammes

Alexandra Carlin, BugBitten

Accurate population data are crucial for understanding the spread of diseases and for the design, planning and monitoring of public heath programmes and health care services. However, low-income countries can struggle to ensure accurate and quality population data, in the face of complex and focal population changes. In this blog, Alex Carlin discusses innovative solutions and considerations that could be applied to health programmes, such as for Neglected Tropical Diseases, to improve disease control and elimination efforts.


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

A Conversation on Creating Disability Inclusion in Public Health
December 1, 2021
The Task Force for Global Health

Improving access to NTD health products to achieve the 2030 road map targets
December 7, 2021
World Health Organization

Completion of the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium’s pivotal Phase III trial Webinar
December 8, 2021
Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium