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Journal: Infectious diseases of poverty


Malaria is a global public health problem, with about 3.2 billion people at risk of infection. The populations at risk mainly reside in Africa, Asia and America, with African populations accounting for the largest burden of the disease. In 2013, close to 198 million malaria cases were reported, leading to 584,000 deaths. Much (90 %) of the mortality rates were recorded from the World Health Organization (WHO) database in the African region and 78 % of these occurred in children under the age of five. In Zimbabwe, approximately half of the population is at risk of infection with malaria.Insecticide residual spraying (IRS) has been documented as an effective way to control malaria and has been adopted globally by the WHO and national governments. However, both insecticide resistance and climate change threaten to reverse the progress made by IRS in malaria control. Resistance has been reported in all four classes of insecticides approved by the WHO for vector control intervention. Variability of environmental temperature is suspected to complicate the situation through alteration in the genetic structure, and enzyme and protein profiles of mosquitoes. In Zimbabwe, little research has been done on the interaction between climate change, temperature variability and insecticide resistance in malarial mosquitoes over time. Such information is important for informing policies on insecticide selection for IRS.We reviewed literature on insecticide sensitivity among malarial mosquitoes in Zimbabwe from 1972 to 2014. International peer-reviewed articles on insecticide sensitivity in Zimbabwe, published in English in this time period, were searched using MEDLINE® (PubMed), Google Scholar, Google and grey literature. Eight publications were eligible for the present study, with one of the articles being a review paper. Six articles covered insecticide resistance, while the other two articles, published in 2000, were about the absence of resistance. Contradicting resistance results were reported in 2014.The insecticide sensitivity status and distribution of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes are still under debate in Zimbabwe, as studies report differing results. The resistance trend in Zimbabwe is characterised by fluctuations in the status of the sensitivity of existing insecticides. Inconsistencies in data collection methods may be responsible for the inconsistencies in the results. None of the studies have determined a link between climate/temperature variability and insecticide resistance as yet. The current insecticide sensitivity status of mosquitoes still needs to be verified.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Malaria, Africa, Anopheles, Pesticide, World Health Organization, Mosquito control, DDT


The frequency of Taenia solium, a zoonotic helminth, is increasing in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where the prevalence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is also high. However, little is known about how these two infections interact. The aim of this study was to compare the proportion of HIV positive (+) and negative (-) individuals who are infected with Taenia solium (TSOL) and who present with clinical and neurological manifestations of cysticercosis (CC).

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Immune system, Infectious disease, Africa, Infection, Cytomegalovirus, Taenia solium


Schistosomiasis is a water borne parasitic disease of global importance and with ongoing control the disease endemic landscape is changing. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the landscape is becoming ever more heterogeneous as there are several species of Schistosoma that respond in different ways to ongoing preventive chemotherapy and the inter-sectoral interventions currently applied. The major focus of preventive chemotherapy is delivery of praziquantel by mass drug administration to those shown to be, or presumed to be, at-risk of infection and disease. In some countries, regional progress may be uneven but in certain locations there are very real prospects to transition from control into interruption of transmission, and ultimately elimination. To manage this transition requires reconsideration of some of the currently deployed diagnostic tools used in surveillance and downward realignment of existing prevalence thresholds to trigger mass treatment. A key challenge will be maintaining and if possible, expanding the current donation of praziquantel to currently overlooked groups, then judging when appropriate to move from mass drug administration to selective treatment. In so doing, this will ensure the health system is adapted, primed and shown to be cost-effective to respond to these changing disease dynamics as we move forward to 2020 targets and beyond.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Disease, Malaria, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Schistosomiasis


Tuberculosis (TB) often causes catastrophic economic effects on both the individual suffering the disease and their households. A number of studies have analyzed patient and household expenditure on TB care, but there does not appear to be any that have assessed the incidence, intensity and determinants of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) relating to TB care in China. That will be the objective of this paper.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Epidemiology, Demography, Economics, Geometry, Household, Feminism


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for an integrated response, the kind that has defined Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) efforts in the past decade.NTD interventions have the greatest relevance for SDG3, the health goal, where the focus on equity, and its commitment to reaching people in need of health services, wherever they may live and whatever their circumstances, is fundamentally aligned with the target of Universal Health Coverage. NTD interventions, however, also affect and are affected by many of the other development areas covered under the 2030 Agenda. Strategies such as mass drug administration or the programmatic integration of NTD and WASH activities (SDG6) are driven by effective global partnerships (SDG17). Intervention against the NTDs can also have an impact on poverty (SDG1) and hunger (SDG2), can improve education (SDG4), work and economic growth (SDG8), thereby reducing inequalities (SDG10). The community-led distribution of donated medicines to more than 1 billion people reinforces women’s empowerment (SDG5), logistics infrastructure (SDG9) and non-discrimination against disability (SDG16). Interventions to curb mosquito-borne NTDs contribute to the goals of urban sustainability (SDG11) and resilience to climate change (SDG13), while the safe use of insecticides supports the goal of sustainable ecosystems (SDG15). Although indirectly, interventions to control water- and animal-related NTDs can facilitate the goals of small-scale fishing (SDG14) and sustainable hydroelectricity and biofuels (SDG7).NTDs proliferate in less developed areas in countries across the income spectrum, areas where large numbers of people have little or no access to adequate health care, clean water, sanitation, housing, education, transport and information. This scoping review assesses how in this context, ending the epidemic of the NTDs can impact and improve our prospects of attaining the SDGs.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Public health, Infectious disease, Biodiversity, Sustainability, Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable development


The crater lakes of Barombi Mbo and Barombi Kotto are well-known transmission foci of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis having had several important control initiatives previously. To collect contemporary epidemiological information, a cross-sectional survey was undertaken inclusive of: signs and symptoms of disease, individual treatment histories, local water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related factors and malacological surveillance, with molecular characterisation of specimens.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Cross-sectional study, Symptom, Crater lake


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


Food-borne diseases are attracting a lot of attention in Vietnam as a result of repeated episodes of adulterated and unsafe food. In this paper, we provide some perspectives on food safety in Vietnam from the point of view of an international research institution working on food safety with partners in the country. We argue that one of the key issues of food safety in Vietnam is that certain food value chain stakeholders lack ethics, which leads to the production and trading of unsafe foods in order to make profits irrespective of adverse health effects on consumers. In turn, the shortfall in ethical behaviours around food can be attributed to a lack of incentives or motivating factors.Although food safety causes panic in the population, it is unclear how much contaminated food contributes to the burden of food-borne diseases and food poisonings in Vietnam. However, globally, the biggest health problem associated with food are infections from consuming food contaminated with viruses, bacteria or parasites. A major food safety challenge is the inappropriate way of communicating food risks to the public. Another key constraint is the inherent difficulty in managing food in wet markets and from smallholder production. On the other hand, local foods, and local food production and processing are an important cultural asset as well as being essential to food safety, and these aspects can be put at risk if food safety concerns motivate consumers to purchase more imported foods.In this paper, we also discuss good experiences in food safety management from other countries and draw lessons learnt for Vietnam on how to better deal with the current food safety situation.

Concepts: Bacteria, Food, Ethics, Motivation, Food safety, Local food, Food industry, Food politics


Schistosomiasis is a waterborne parasitic disease in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly common in rural populations living in impoverished conditions. With the scale-up of preventive chemotherapy, national campaigns will transition from morbidity- to transmission-focused interventions thus formal investigation of actual or expected declines in environmental transmission is needed as ‘end game’ scenarios arise. Surprisingly, there are no international or national guidelines to do so in sub-Saharan Africa. Our article therefore provides an introduction to key practicalities and pitfalls in the development of an appropriate environmental surveillance framework. In this context, we discuss how strategies need to be adapted and tailored to the local level to better guide and support future interventions through this transition. As detection of egg-patent infection in people becomes rare, careful sampling of schistosome larvae in freshwater and in aquatic snails with robust species-specific DNA assays will be required. Appropriate metrics, derived from observed prevalence(s) as compared with predetermined thresholds, could each provide a clearer insight into contamination- and exposure-related dynamics. Application could be twofold, first to certify areas currently free from schistosomiasis transmission or second to red-flag recalcitrant locations where extra effort or alternative interventions are needed.

Concepts: AIDS, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Sahara, Schistosomiasis, Malawi, Southern Africa


Endemicity of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Cambodia was proven in 1956 when microfilariae were detected in mosquitos in the Kratié province. In 2001, an extensive study confirmed the presence of both Brugia malayi and Wuchereria bancrofti microfilariae. In 2003, the Ministry of Health established a national task force to develop policies and strategies for controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with the goal of eliminating LF by 2015. This article summarizes the work accomplished to eliminate LF as a public health problem in Cambodia.

Concepts: Malaria, Diethylcarbamazine, Filariasis, Neglected diseases, Brugia timori, Brugia malayi, Wuchereria bancrofti, Elephantiasis