Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disease found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, where it is a major public health problem. It is caused by the helminth parasites <i>Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugiamalayi</i>, and<i> B. timori</i>, and is transmitted by mosquitoes. The availability of tools and strategies for the control of the disease led to the World Health Assembly resolution (WHA 50.29) calling on member states to work towards the elimination of LF as a public health problem by 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) in 2000, with the principal objective of breaking the cycle of transmission of <i>W. bancrofti</i> and <i>Brugia spp</i>. through the application of annual mass drug administration (MDA) to entire at-risk populations for a period of five to six years. In 2012, 73 countries were endemic (81 at the onset of the GPELF), with 1.4 billion people at risk, 120 million people infected, and 40 million people affected by LF-related morbidity.
The prestigious international weekly interdisciplinary scientific journal – Nature, has published an article featuring Tom Kariuki, a Kenyan immunologist and founding member of ARNTD, who has been tapped to lead a new funding platform for African research. The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa – AESA, will be operating from the headquarters of the African Academy of Sciences in Nairobi. AESA’s aim is to strengthen African science and researchers, as well as to shift the centre of gravity for African funding decisions from London, Seattle and Geneva etc. to the continent. Three international funding bodies (the Wellcome Trust, the UK Department for International Development, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) are supporting the initiative for the start up with a seed cash of around USD 5.5 million. However in the longer term AESA is counting on the participation of African governments to support research in their own countries.
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Pauline Mwinzi and Uwem Ekpo; ARNTD Chair and Management Board member respectively, have together with other scientists published a systematic review in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal examining the spatial distribution of schistosomiasis and treatment needs in sub-Saharan Africa. Using Bayesian geostatistical meta-analysis methods and taking environmental and socioeconomic variables into consideration, they predicted schistosomiasis infection risk and calculated the number of doses of praziquantel needed for prevention of morbidity. The work of these scientists is expected to inform the spatial targeting of schistosomiasis control interventions and also has the potential to inform policy makers on the number of treatments needed at different health administrative levels in endemic countries.
Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic disease, is estimated to infect 150,000–300,000 persons every year, killing ≈5,000. Within West Africa, Lassa fever is endemic to 2 regions: 1) Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia; and 2) Nigeria. Even within most of these countries, Lassa fever is endemic to certain areas but rare or completely absent in others. Zoonotic disease nidality describes the phenomenon in which geographic occurrence of a zoonotic disease is markedly focused or fragmented, as opposed to occurring continuously or spreading in a consistent pattern. Zoonotic disease nidality might result when only select phyletic groups in a host species are capable of serving as reservoirs for the pathogen.
Malaria and schistosomiasis coinfections are common, and chronic schistosomiasis has been implicated in affecting the severity of acute malaria. However, whether it enhances or attenuates malaria has been controversial due the lack of appropriately controlled human studies and relevant animal models. To examine this interaction, we conducted a randomized controlled study using the baboon (Papio anubis) to analyze the effect of chronic schistosomiasis on severe malaria. Two groups of baboons (n = 8 each) and a schistosomiasis control group (n = 3) were infected with 500 Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. At 14 and 15 weeks postinfection, one group was given praziquantel to treat schistosomiasis infection.
Lassa fever, a viral haemorrhagic disease, affects 150,000–300,000 people in West Africa, causing up to 5,000 deaths per year. It was discovered in 1969 in Nigeria when American nurses died in Jos Evangel Hospital after a human-to-human transmission. The first case came from Lassa, a village located in Maiduguri region near the border with Cameroon (in present day Bornu state, Nigeria). Shortly after this first outbreak several cases were recorded in eastern Sierra Leone, leading to investigations to identify the virus reservoir among commensal rodents. The Multimammate rat Mastomys natalensis was then discovered as a reservoir host of Lassa virus (LASV) in 1974. Till now, there have been a number of reports suggesting other rodents might also be reservoirs of this virus.
Provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) resources has been advocated as necessary add-on strategy for sustainable control of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) alongside annual mass drug administration (MDA) of albendazole to endemic communities. This study investigated the burden of STH and status of WASH resources in eight rural communities in Aiyedaade LGA, Osun State, Nigeria.