Saturday February 24, 2018

Two neglected Tropical Diseases Elephantiasis and Trachoma on Track for Eradication in 4 Years in the World’s poorest Countries

Thanks to the partnership of the government, pharmaceutical companies and charitable foundations, by the year 2020, two tropical diseases will be eradicated

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WASHINGTON, October 14, 2016: By the year 2020, two neglected tropical diseases, lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, and trachoma, a blinding illness, may be eliminated in the world’s poorest countries, thanks to a partnership of governments, charitable foundations and pharmaceutical companies.

The U.S. provides the most funding for the elimination of neglected tropical diseases, through the U.S. Agency for International Development. That funding, between 2006 and today, has provided 1.6 billion treatments in about 30 countries.

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“In the areas that USAID has supported,” NTD program coordinator Emily Wainwright said, “there are going to be 400 million people who don’t have to worry about getting lymphatic filariasis again. We will have addressed that problem. And there will be about 184 million people who aren’t going to have to worry about getting trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness.”

According to the World Health Organization, neglected tropical diseases affect an estimated 1.5 billion people in the poorest countries.

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Other diseases that are targeted for elimination include onchocerciasis, known as river blindness, schistosomiasis or snail fever, which causes intestinal and urogenital infections, and soil-transmitted helminthiasis, a systemic illness that causes diarrhoea, fever, fatigue and malnutrition.

Children are disproportionately affected by the parasitic and bacterial illnesses, which stunt growth and affect brain development.

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Recently, WHO released data showing that in 2015, 979 million people received preventive chemotherapy for neglected tropical diseases, an increase of 121 million from 2014.

More diseases are predicted to follow the path of elimination, according to Ariel Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for Global Health, Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator at USAID.

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“Just like in polio,” he said, “which is in the last battle of the disease to remove from the face of the Earth, or leprosy, which is down 95 percent [from] the levels we used to have 50 years ago, these diseases we are in a position right now … to end all of the diseases of extreme poverty by 2030.”

USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease Program and the WHO have put a priority on eliminating 17 NTDs in 149 countries, where one in six people suffer from at least one of the illnesses. (VOA)

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Brazil to vaccinate entire population against yellow fever

Thirty-four million people need to be vaccinated there, with 23 million in the northeast and 11 million in the south of the country

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Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America.
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America. Wikimedia Commons

Brazilian Health Minister Ricardo Barros has proposed to vaccinate the entire country against yellow fever after the disease emerged in new areas.

The recommendation will now be discussed with international organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

At the start of February, vaccination efforts began in states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, seeking to immunize 19.7 million people against yellow fever, for which cases have been rising since last year, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to Barros on Thursday, if the government approves the idea, separate programs will take place in each state of the country.

Also Read: Study: Partial Dose of Yellow Fever Vaccine Provides Protection

Barros added that the vaccination campaign should be rolled out gradually, according to the capacity of each state.

Certain northeastern and southern regions of the country have not seen campaigns so far, as there have been no outbreaks of yellow fever there.

At the start of February, vaccination efforts began in states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia.
At the start of February, vaccination efforts began in states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. Wikimedia Commons

Thirty-four million people need to be vaccinated there, with 23 million in the northeast and 11 million in the south of the country.

A plant belonging to Libbs Farmaceutica in Sao Paulo is currently about to begin production of 4 million doses of the vaccine a month.

From July 1, 2017, to February 20, 2018, Brazil has confirmed 545 cases of yellow fever, with 164 deaths.

A further 1,773 suspected cases have been noted, with 685 having been eliminated and 422 still under investigation. (IANS)