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Save the date: New research on malaria, dengue, chik-v, Ebola, ticks, parasitic worms and more

Rajiv Shah, who led Obama Administration's response to global health crises, to open world's largest gathering of tropical medicine experts


The 64th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the largest gathering of its kind, will launch in Philadelphia with the Honorable Rajiv Shah, MD, former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). During his tenure at USAID from January 2010 to February 2015, Shah led the US Government's response to some of the world's most challenging global health crises, including the Haiti earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

TropMed, as the annual ASTMH meeting is colloquially known, brings together leading experts from around the world who are battling familiar and resurgent threats like malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, Ebola, Chagas disease, tick-borne diseases, and parasitic worms that each year sicken or kill hundreds of millions of people.

WHAT: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 64th Annual Meeting

WHEN: October 25 - 29, 2015 (Sunday through Thursday)

WHERE: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

KEYNOTE: The Honorable Rajiv Shah, MD, MSc, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development, 2010-2015

RSVP: For more information and to register for press credentials, please contact:
Bridget DeSimone at +1 301 280 5735 or

On Twitter @astmh #TropMed15

Selected Highlights of the ASTMH 2015 Annual Meeting Include:

The World has its First Malaria Vaccine--Now What: Scientists made history this summer when the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gave a positive review of a malaria vaccine developed by GSK. The assessment was a major milestone for what could be the first vaccine targeting a human parasitic disease to make it to market. A key issue for discussion at the ASTMH Annual Meeting is how poor countries should assess the cost-effectiveness of a vaccine that is only partially effective against malaria--even though it could save thousands of lives in areas with a heavy burden of disease. How will they integrate it into existing childhood vaccination programs and how will the new vaccine fit into broader malaria control strategies that involve insecticide treated bednets, indoor spraying, and wider use of malaria medicines?

Fighting Drug Resistant Malaria, With a Possible Assist from Ebola: Malaria resistance to the life-saving drug artemisinin continues to spread in Southeast Asia on a path that could take it to the malaria hot spots of Africa--and rapidly reverse decades of progress. Scientists will present new research probing whether malaria drugs used alongside artemisinin may also be cracking, and how the fight against drug resistant malaria in Myanmar is bringing together government officials and opposition groups that have been fighting them for decades. Researchers will also present evidence from a mass drug treatment campaign undertaken in Sierra Leone at the height of the Ebola epidemic to knock out malaria infections that were interfering with the Ebola fight. The results could help inform controversial proposals to employ a mass drug treatment strategy in Southeast Asia in an effort to create a malaria-free firewall that could prevent further spread of resistant infections.

Ebola, One Year Later: One year after Ebola captured the headlines and prompted Louisiana to ban researchers who had recently worked in West Africa from attending the ASTMH Annual Meeting, the disease is down but not out. Researchers will explore new evidence of a potentially successful Ebola vaccine; hear new insights into what caused the largest cluster of Ebola infections among health care workers; discuss the ethics of conducting clinical trials in the midst of an epidemic; and get a first person account of what it was like to get infected with Ebola, and survive.

The Big Deal about a Little Diarrhea: The term "traveler's diarrhea" is usually spoken in a dismissive tone indicating that it's a transient problem not worth much worry. But at the ASTMH Annual Meeting, scientists will discuss the latest evidence that a little traveler's diarrhea can have big consequences in the form of chronic complications. Researchers will consider new research into whether norovirus--the scourge of cruise ships everywhere--can lead to chronic complications. They will also present research probing links between giardia and both irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue. Meanwhile, in a related session, scientists will discuss new evidence pointing to the role of domesticated animals in passing along diarrhea infections to children.

Eager for a Break Against "Breakbone" Fever: The painful mosquito-borne disease dengue fever--often called "breakbone fever" due to the extreme joint pain many victims suffer--is lacking both a vaccine and a knock-out drug. But it continues to spread both globally and in the continental United States. The ASTMH meeting will feature a full-court press against dengue, including new evidence of whether people with no signs of the disease are still transmitting infections; the latest evidence on innovative approaches to develop drugs and vaccines against dengue; and lessons learned from treating dengue patients in Texas and Arizona.

Climate Change Carrying Tropical Diseases to the North: Climate change, particularly when it involves rising temperatures, could accelerate the northward march of a number of tropical diseases. A symposium at the Annual Meeting will feature the latest findings from scientists who are combining climate forecasts with public health insights to assess, for example, the risk of dengue moving into the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. A related symposium will feature new insights from the world's leading experts tracking the spread of chikungunya in the Americas. A disease once mainly confined to Africa, chikungunya emerged unexpectedly in 2013 on the Caribbean island of St. Martin and appears to be gaining a foothold in Florida. Chikungunya resembles dengue with its tendency to cause fever, malaise and severe--sometimes chronic--joint pain.

In Middle East Conflicts the Sand Fly is Winning: An unfortunate souvenir for many US veterans of the Iraq war was leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by sand flies that can cause ulcerated skin sores and, in its more serious "visceral" form, potentially fatal enlargement of the spleen and liver. Now leishmaniasis is becoming a growing problem in the war-torn areas of Iraq and Syria. Researchers will discuss the latest evidence from efforts to create a leishmaniasis vaccine and how growing evidence of asymptomatic infections could impede efforts to slow disease transmission.

Resurging Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: While Lyme disease typically tops discussion of tick-borne infections, another tick-borne disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, has been on rise in the Americas since the 1990s. While it responds well to drug treatment, left untreated Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can cause organ failure and death. Researchers will discuss the latest evidence of rising fatality rates in Brazil and the results of recent disease control efforts undertaken in the American Southwest. Scientists will also hear the latest research probing other types of tick-borne spotted fevers that may be different than the Rocky Mountain variety.


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