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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.

Concepts: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Melanesia, Oceania, Neglected diseases, Hookworm, Tropical diseases


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.

Concepts: Measurement, Psychometrics, Test method, Systems of measurement, Filariasis, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Tropical diseases


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.

Concepts: Malaria, Integral, Vector, Filariasis, Doxycycline, Tropical disease, Tropical diseases


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.

Concepts: Malaria, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever, Neglected diseases, Tropical diseases


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.

Concepts: Immune system, Malaria, Nematodes, Proteomics, Neglected diseases, Tropical diseases, Onchocerciasis, Onchocerca volvulus


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.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Malaria, Evaluation, Computer program, Filariasis, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Tropical diseases


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are generally assumed to be concentrated in poor populations, but evidence on this remains scattered. We describe within-country socioeconomic inequalities in nine NTDs listed in the London Declaration for intensified control and/or elimination: lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH), trachoma, Chagas' disease, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), leprosy, and visceral leishmaniasis (VL).

Concepts: Infectious disease, Parasitic diseases, African trypanosomiasis, Vector, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Insect-borne diseases, Tropical diseases


Lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminths (STH) and trachoma represent the five most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). They can be controlled or eliminated by means of safe and cost-effective interventions delivered through programs of Mass Drug Administration (MDA)-also named Preventive Chemotherapy (PCT). The WHO defined targets for NTD control/elimination by 2020, reinforced by the 2012 London Declaration, which, if achieved, would result in dramatic health gains. We estimated the potential economic benefit of achieving these targets, focusing specifically on productivity and out-of-pocket payments.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Malaria, Schistosomiasis, Parasitic diseases, Filariasis, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Tropical diseases


Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) afflict around one billion individuals in the poorest parts of the world with many more at risk. Lymphatic filariasis is one of the most prevalent of the infections and causes significant morbidity in those who suffer the clinical conditions, particularly lymphedema and hydrocele. Depressive illness has been recognised as a prevalent disability in those with the disease because of the stigmatising nature of the condition. No estimates of the burden of depressive illness of any neglected tropical disease have been undertaken to date despite the recognition that such diseases have major consequences for mental health not only for patients but also their caregivers.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Filariasis, Neglected diseases, Tropical disease, Tropical diseases


In 1991, Taplin et al. published a seminal study from Panama showing that mass drug administration of the then newly available permethrin cream dramatically reduced the high rates of endemic scabies in island communities.(1) In this issue of the Journal, Romani and colleagues report the results of the Skin Health Intervention Fiji Trial (SHIFT),(2) which confirm the efficacy of mass administration of topical permethrin for scabies control. However, in their elegant randomized study involving island communities in Fiji, they also found that mass administration of oral ivermectin had superior effectiveness for scabies control. This study is timely, because scabies . . .

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Malaria, Randomized controlled trial, Filariasis, Scabies, Tropical diseases, Permethrin