Concept: Tropical diseases
Among Oceania’s population of 35 million people, the greatest number living in poverty currently live in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. These impoverished populations are at high risk for selected NTDs, including Necator americanus hookworm infection, strongyloidiasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), balantidiasis, yaws, trachoma, leprosy, and scabies, in addition to outbreaks of dengue and other arboviral infections including Japanese encephalitis virus infection. PNG stands out for having the largest number of cases and highest prevalence for most of these NTDs. However, Australia’s Aboriginal population also suffers from a range of significant NTDs. Through the Pacific Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, enormous strides have been made in eliminating LF in Oceania through programs of mass drug administration (MDA), although LF remains widespread in PNG. There are opportunities to scale up MDA for PNG’s major NTDs, which could be accomplished through an integrated package that combines albendazole, ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine, and azithromycin, in a program of national control. Australia’s Aboriginal population may benefit from appropriately integrated MDA into primary health care systems. Several emerging viral NTDs remain important threats to the region.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF)-related disability affects 40 million people globally, making LF the leading cause of physical disability in the world. Despite this, there is limited research into how the impacts of LF-related disability are best measured. This article identifies the tools currently being used to measure LF-related disability and reviews their applicability against the known impacts of LF. The findings from the review show that the generic disability tools currently used by LF programs fail to measure the majority of known impacts of LF-related disability. The findings from the review support the development of an LF-specific disability measurement tool and raise doubt about the suitability of generic disability tools to assess disability related to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) globally.
The global programmes to eliminate both malaria and lymphatic filariasis are facing operational and technical challenges. Available data show that the use of treated or untreated bednets and indoor residual spraying for malaria control concomitantly reduced filarial rates. In turn, mass drug administration campaigns against lymphatic filariasis can be combined with the distribution of insecticide-treated bednets. Combining these disease control efforts could lead to more efficient use of resources, more accurate attribution of effects, and more effective control of both diseases. Systematic integration requires coordination at all levels, mapping of coendemic areas, and comprehensive monitoring and evaluation.
Within the last five years, the State of Texas has experienced either transmission or outbreaks of Ebola, chikungunya, West Nile, and Zika virus infections. Autochthonous transmission of neglected parasitic and bacterial diseases has also become increasingly reported. The rise of such emerging and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has not occurred by accident but instead reflects rapidly evolving changes and shifts in a “new” Texas beset by modern and globalizing forces that include rapid expansions in population together with urbanization and human migrations, altered transportation patterns, climate change, steeply declining vaccination rates, and a new paradigm of poverty known as “blue marble health.” Summarized here are the major NTDs now affecting Texas. In addition to the vector-borne viral diseases highlighted above, there also is a high level of parasitic infections, including Chagas disease, trichomoniasis, and possibly leishmaniasis and toxocariasis, as well as typhus-group rickettsiosis, a vector-borne bacterial infection. I also highlight some of the key shifts in emerging and neglected disease patterns, partly due to an altered and evolving economic and ecological landscape in the new Texas, and provide some preliminary disease burden estimates for the major prevalent and incident NTDs.
New mode-of-action insecticides are sought to provide continued control of pesticide resistant arthropod vectors of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). We previously identified antagonists of the AaDOP2 D1-like dopamine receptor (DAR) from the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, with toxicity to Ae. aegypti larvae as leads for novel insecticides. To extend DAR-based insecticide discovery, we evaluated the molecular and pharmacological characteristics of an orthologous DAR target, CqDOP2, from Culex quinquefasciatus, the vector of lymphatic filariasis and West Nile virus.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is a neglected tropical disease that has been successfully targeted by mass drug treatment programs in the Americas and small parts of Africa. Achieving the long-term goal of elimination of onchocerciasis, however, requires additional tools, including drugs, vaccines, and biomarkers of infection. Here, we describe the transcriptome and proteome profiles of the major vector and the human host stages (L1, L2, L3, molting L3, L4, adult male, and adult female) of Onchocerca volvulus along with the proteome of each parasitic stage and of its Wolbachia endosymbiont (wOv). In so doing, we have identified stage-specific pathways important to the parasite’s adaptation to its human host during its early development. Further, we generated a protein array that, when screened with well-characterized human samples, identified novel diagnostic biomarkers of O. volvulus infection and new potential vaccine candidates. This immunomic approach not only demonstrates the power of this postgenomic discovery platform but also provides additional tools for onchocerciasis control programs.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is among the 10 neglected tropical diseases targeted for control or elimination by 2020. For LF elimination, the World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed a comprehensive strategy including (i) interruption of LF transmission through large-scale annual treatment (or mass drug administration (MDA)) of all eligible individuals in endemic areas, and (ii) alleviation of LF-associated suffering through morbidity management and disability prevention. In Cameroon, once-yearly mass administration of ivermectin and albendazole has been implemented since 2008. The aim of this study was to assess progress towards the elimination goal, looking specifically at the impact of six rounds of MDA on LF transmission in northern Cameroon.
The activities of the Global Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis have been in operation since the year 2000, with Mass Drug Administration (MDA) undertaken yearly in disease endemic communities. Information collected during MDA-such as population demographics, age, sex, drugs used and remaining, and therapeutic and geographic coverage-can be used to assess the quality of the data reported. To assist country programmes in evaluating the information reported, the WHO, in collaboration with NTD partners, including ENVISION/RTI, developed an NTD Data Quality Assessment (DQA) tool, for use by programmes. This study was undertaken to evaluate the tool and assess the quality of data reported in some endemic communities in Ghana.
Lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis are two important neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that cause severe disability. Control efforts are hindered by the lack of a safe macrofilaricidal drug. Targeting the Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts in these parasites with doxycycline leads to a macrofilaricidal outcome, but protracted treatment regimens and contraindications restrict its widespread implementation. The Anti-Wolbachia consortium aims to develop improved anti-Wolbachia drugs to overcome these barriers. We describe the first screening of a large, diverse compound library against Wolbachia. This whole-organism screen, streamlined to reduce bottlenecks, produced a hit rate of 0.5%. Chemoinformatic analysis of the top 50 hits led to the identification of six structurally diverse chemotypes, the disclosure of which could offer interesting avenues of investigation to other researchers active in this field. An example of hit-to-lead optimization is described to further demonstrate the potential of developing these high-quality hit series as safe, efficacious, and selective anti-Wolbachia macrofilaricides.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2015-2020 Global Strategy on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) encourages integration, whilst maintaining existing structured NTD investments, and acceleration towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets. Accordingly, SDG-associated and WASH-NTD indicators have been developed, commencing important intersectoral dialogue, alongside opportunities for future disease-specific refinements. The rationale for soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH)- and schistosomiasis-specific WASH considerations, and a traffic-light figure, are presented here to indicate where current international definitions may, or may not, suffice. Certain unique aspects in control dynamics and parasitic lifecycles, however, necessitate additional implementation research with more appropriate measurement indicators developed to record programmatic interventions and to define strategic priorities more effectively.