Neglected tropical diseases

WHO: eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem is on track

14 June 2017 | Geneva –– Uninterrupted control activities, improved surveillance and reinforced passive case-finding have resulted in the sustained decrease in new cases of human African trypanosomiasis (also known as sleeping sickness).

There were only 2184 new cases reported in 2016, as compared with fewer than 5000 in 2014 and 10000 in 2009.

© MSF. Boy being screened for sleeping sickness during a campaign in DRC

Accelerating yaws eradication: antibiotic added to WHO’s essential medicines list

9 June 2017 | Geneva –– The World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated azithromycin as the antibiotic for the treatment of yaws - a chronic infectious disease that mainly affects children.

Its inclusion in WHO's latest Model list of Essential Medicines is expected to facilitate access to the medicine and enhance the implementation its eradication, worldwide.


World Health Assembly approves comprehensive global approach against vector-borne diseases

02 June 2017 | Geneva ––Vector-borne diseases account for over 17% of all infectious diseases worldwide.

A new approach is needed to tackle their global resurgence and re-emergence.

The Seventieth World Health Assembly has adopted a resolution on a Global Vector Control Response to ensure locally adapted vector control measures, prevent disease emergence and strengthen the ability of countries to respond to outbreaks.

Mosquito larvae © Boon Hong Seto

Dracunculiasis eradication: aggressive vector control to accelerate interruption of transmission

29 May 2017 | Geneva ––The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries where dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) is endemic to expand the treatment of all water bodies with the cyclopicide, temephos.
Application of temephos in surface water is known to kill the water fleas (cyclops) that carry the infective guinea-worm larvae.
WHO’s call comes as the world enters the “last mile” in eradicating the first parasitic disease of humans. Until the end of April, only four human cases have been reported to WHO.


WHO Member States elect a new Director-General

23 May 2017 | Geneva –– Member States attending the Seventieth World Health Assembly today elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General.

Dr Tedros (his name preference) an Ethiopian national, becomes the eighth Director-General of the specialized United Nations agency since it was founded in 1948.

His five-year term begins on 1 July 2017.

Health workers registering a child during a yaws mass treatment campaign in Timor Tengah Selatan District

Indonesia mobilizes resources to defeat yaws

19 May 2017 | Geneva –– Indonesia has rolled out a comprehensive programme to eliminate yaws - a chronic skin disease that mainly affects children.

Strong political commitment has ensured adequate funding for the programme and the procurement of azithromycin - an oral antibiotic that can cure yaws infection.

Yaws is the third disease targeted for eradication by the World Health Organization (WHO). The two others are: dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) and polio.

Health workers registering a child during a yaws mass treatment campaign - © Sub-Directorate of Leprosy and Yaws; MoH, Indonesia
dracunculiasis in Chad

Chad reporting fewer dracunculiasis infections in dogs

15 May 2017 | Geneva ––The decreasing number of dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) infections in dogs in Chad indicates that enhanced control and surveillance measures, supported by a robust education campaign, are working.

The World Health Organization recommends that control measures should be combined with treatment using cyclopicide of all water bodies surrounding affected villages and neighbourhoods.

© Carsten ten Brink