Public Release:  New research on malaria, bedbugs, polio, TB, cholera, more at ASTMH Annual Meeting

Burness Communications

The 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the largest gathering of its kind, is bringing together leading experts from around the world who are battling familiar and resurgent threats like malaria, polio, dengue fever, cholera, tick-borne diseases, and drug-resistant tuberculosis that each year sicken or kill hundreds of millions of people.

Vaccine developers will discuss the results from two potentially ground-breaking late-stage clinical trails, one seeking to provide the world with its first licensed malaria vaccine and another testing the world's first vaccine against dengue fever--a horrific disease now raging worldwide and also moving into the United States. In addition, there will be new data on the alarming spread of drug-resistant malaria in Asia; an expert assessment of why polio eradication is proving so difficult; insights into why drug-resistant tuberculosis in China is emerging in new patients, not just in those previously treated; research into how human scents and even home design influence the risk of mosquito-borne diseases; and a report from scientists who are thinking outside the box-springs on how to beat bed bugs.

WHAT: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 61st Annual Meeting

WHEN: November 11-15, 2012

WHERE: Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia

RSVP: For more information and to register for press credentials, please contact: Preeti Singh at +1 301 280 5722 or psingh@burnesscommunications.com

WEB: http://www.astmh.org/Home.htm

Selected Highlights of ASTMH 2012 Annual Meeting

On the Brink of a Breakthrough Vaccines?: Experts from Sanofi Pasteur are expected to present additional analysis of data from a study in Thailand that is the first to test the efficacy of a vaccine against dengue fever. Often called "break-bone fever" for its capacity to cause excruciating joint pain, cases of dengue have been rising rapidly worldwide. The disease now infects over 230 million people each year and kills 21,000. Dengue has now reached the U.S. mainland, with locally-acquired infections reported in Florida as recently as last September. In a separate session, scientists will present more data from the Phase III clinical trial of a malaria vaccine known as RTS,S that is the closest the world has come to a licensed vaccine against one of the world's most prolific killers.

Anxiety Rising Regarding Malaria Drug Resistance: Researchers will provide the latest data from Southeast Asia on the alarming spread of resistance to the malaria drug artemisinin--the single most important medicine for treating infections--whose loss would be devastating for the global fight against the disease. So far, artemisinin has remained effective in Africa, where most of the world's malaria deaths occur. But the annual meeting also will feature a symposium considering whether malaria epidemics erupting in illegal and informal gold and gemstone mining sites in Africa, the Americas, and elsewhere are providing fertile ground for the emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites. And scientists will discuss efforts to disrupt the multi-billion dollar global market for counterfeit malaria drugs.

Polio Eradication Suffers Setbacks: Scientists present an update from the frontiers of the frustrating fight to eliminate polio. Health officials had hoped 2012 would be the year it was finally eradicated from its remaining strongholds in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. But the failure to finish it off in these countries has lead to polio outbreaks in 39 previously polio-free countries and transmission to be re-established in Angola, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Drug-resistant TB May Be Going Mainstream: Major figures in the global fight against multi-drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis will analyze the implications of alarming new research from China that found some 6 percent of new TB patients and one-quarter of previously treated patients have a form of the disease that is resistant to at least two TB drugs. Moreover, most cases involved TB being passed from person to person, evidence of drug resistant strains freely circulating in the community rather than emerging only in TB patients who fail the first round of treatment or relapse. The alarming prospect of MDR TB strains circulating in the general population has health officials concerned that an already difficult situation could soon become much worse.

Human Smells as Mosquito Dinner Bell: In the ongoing battle against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and yellow fever, scientists will present new data on what makes us smell so good to mosquitoes that they have to take a bite. For example, the fatty acids in our feet could make us literally as enticing as a fragrant block of Limburger cheese. Also, researchers will discuss how changing mosquito behavior threatens successful efforts to fight malaria with bednets and indoor insecticide spraying.

Thinking Outside the Box Springs to Defeat Bed Bugs: Scientists will present preliminary evidence from an ongoing study probing whether a single dose of the drug ivermectin, the same medicine used to prevent heartworm in dogs, can kill off a bedbug infestation. Common in the tropics but rare in the United States for decades, bedbugs have returned to North America, with a particularly high-profile infestation of New York City.

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The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. Read ASTMH Blog and follow ASTMH on Twitter

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