Neglected Tropical Diseases Factsheet
The KEMRI/CDC Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) branch is involved in research related to the geographic distribution, prevalence, intensity and morbidities of neglected tropical diseases such as bilharzias (schistosomiasis) and intestinal worms and how people’s immune systems respond to these infections. Diseases targeted for future research include trachoma, tungiasis (jiggers), filariasis (elephantiasis), leishmaniasis (kala-azar) and hydatid among others. The branch also evaluates disease control strategies and the impact of co-infections with other illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STH), and TB. The NTD branch is involved in identifying strategies, using a community directed approach, to strengthen the Primary Health Care System to control NTD’s.
Evaluation/Comparison of Diagnostic Tests for Schistosomiasis
KEMRI/CDC’s NTD branch is evaluating how the point of contact (POC) test compares with other tests like ELISA for antibody detection and PCR for sensitivity and specificity of schistosome diagnosis in areas of high, moderate, and low schistosomiasis prevalence. The NTD branch is also evaluating which test has the greatest accuracy for a given cost in various prevalent areas.
Assessment of quality of life as a tool for measuring morbidity due to schistosomiasis and the impact of treatment
In this study, NTD Branch investigated how the control of schistosomiasis through treatment affected quality of life and provided evidence for the benefits of mass drug administrations. The branch used WHO quality of life assessment (WHOQOL-BREF) to measure the benefit of treating schistosomiasis among treatment-naïve individuals in high prevalence areas. Study participants were screened for parasites, HIV, and subjected to the WHOQOL-BREF before and six months after treatment. The study findings indicated a significant reduction in both prevalence and intensity of infection while quality of life significan_tly improved compared to the baseline.
Mapping models for predictive accuracy of schistosomiasis and STH prevalence.
The branch is developing a mapping model that can be generalized and has predictive capacity by applying it to other locations and countries that have already obtained similar prevalence data as area of study on schistosomes and STHs.
Maps are created by collecting prevalence data with respect to population density, water proximity, elevation, sanitation availability and vegetation. A valid, model could greatly reduce a control programs cost reducing the use of treatment drugs where it is not needed reducing the risk from unnecessary treatments. The distribution and intensity of schistosomiasis is focal; however, treatment programs typically aim to cover large areas where risk may not be uniformly present leading to unnecessary costs in resource-constrained environments. Given the likely progression of climate change future control efforts could be better targeted by address changes in risks associated with environmental change.