Fighting the latest ebola scare, tackling disease outbreaks, pandemic flu concerns, probing tick spit for cures, diseases in the aftermath of hurricanes, emerging infectious diseases and more at world's leading meeting of global health and tropical disease experts.
WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti, Leader in Fight Against HIV/AIDS and Ebola, to Deliver Keynote; "Hot Zone" Author Richard Preston to Talk on Outbreaks
Approaches to outbreak control; new tools to control Ebola; inoculating the world against a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic; how climate change could spread a lethal bacteria recently found in the floodwaters of Hurricane Maria; seeking innovations at the nexus of poop and public health; and, putting cures in spitting distance by studying tick and mosquito saliva. These are among the highlights of the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that will bring thousands of disease experts from around the world to New Orleans in October.
Some of the biggest news from the conference will include reports on the recent Nipah virus outbreak in India, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and a potential resurgence of malaria in Asia and Africa. Research will also be presented on Zika vaccine development and different ways dogs are becoming part of the battle against infectious diseases.
Kicking off the conference will be Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director, WHO Africa, the first woman to serve in this role at the organization. Dr. Moeti played a prominent role in implementing a drug treatment strategy that significantly increased access to life-saving anti-retroviral therapy for people with HIV in Africa. More recently, she was closely involved with the massive effort to contain Ebola outbreaks in the DRC and is leading a push for universal health coverage across Africa. Also featured, a TropMed Book Discussion with the Preston brothers, authors Doug and Richard Preston, the latter who will discuss both his classic best-seller The Hot Zone and his more recent work on Ebola.
WHAT: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 67th Annual Meeting
WHEN: October 28 - November 1, 2018 (Sunday through Thursday)
WHERE: Sheraton New Orleans and New Orleans Marriott
KEYNOTE: Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, MBBS, MSc (CHDC), FLSHTM, DSc, Regional Director, WHO Regional Office for Africa
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Selected Highlights of the 2018 ASTMH Annual Meeting:
Tackling Outbreaks: Ebola, flu, Zika, cholera...outbreaks keep coming, often on top of complex humanitarian crises in areas of conflict and refugee movements. As health authorities work to contain the spread of Ebola infections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, experts will discuss the latest insights from the front lines and evaluate new Ebola vaccines, including one that has been deployed in the DRC. Related: Is Real-Time Data Ready for Prime-Time Outbreak Response? New research is exploring whether cutting-edge data-crunching tools can be deployed to guide data-driven outbreak response in real-time. Finally, with the Zika outbreak of 2016 fast fading from memory, new studies explore its potential to return in the Americas.
Dogging Disease: Several new studies look at what dogs can tell us about tropical diseases. One explores the potential for dogs to join the fight against malaria while another probes what hard working service dogs in the US are revealing about the hazards of Chagas disease. Meanwhile, scientists in Chad consider how feeding dogs fish guts may be inadvertently harming efforts to eradicate guinea worm.
Marking the Spanish Flu Centennial amid Worries History Will Repeat: It is somewhat unnerving that the 100th anniversary of the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic, which killed millions, comes on the heels of the 2017 flu season that in the Northern Hemisphere was among the worst in recent memory. Researchers will present not only a historical look at flu, but also the latest findings from an intense hunt for a universal influenza vaccine. Such a breakthrough would provide an alternative to seasonal vaccination--only 36 percent effective in 2017--and potentially protect from another pandemic from a novel virus strain, which experts believe is overdue.
Fears of Resurgent Malaria: After more than a decade of declining infections and deaths, the fight against malaria appears to have stalled. New studies offer the latest insights regarding the impact of drug and insecticide resistance, and changes in the biting behavior of malaria carrying mosquitoes. Also, a new study challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the global spread of drug-resistant malaria parasites.
Tick App Takes Off: A new a Tick App available on smartphones is providing new data that is allowing scientists to compare populations in the US Northeast to those in the Midwest to assess different factors, including human behavior, that may affect the risk of becoming infected with Lyme disease. A separate study explores what's driving the rise of a dangerous tick-borne disease that is increasingly found in the same tick that carries Lyme disease.
Hemorrhagic Hurricane Hitchhiker: The flood waters of Hurricane Maria that flowed through Puerto Rico last year carried an invisible threat: leptospira, an explosive, lethal pathogen that presents like a lot like other hemorrhagic fevers such as dengue or yellow fever and kills up to 20 percent of victims. Look for the latest on the Puerto Rico infections, where the disease killed at least 26 people, along with research on how climate change could produce a global epidemic of leptospirosis. Also, a report about the growing incidence of septic shock in infected patients who do not respond to treatment.
Secrets of Saliva: Researchers discuss the latest findings probing the role of tick and mosquito saliva in transmitting disease as these insects make a mouth-watering meal of human blood. Among the discussions: how this rich source of bioactive compounds could become a target for vaccines against tick and mosquito-borne diseases.
Power of Poop: Researchers will discuss the latest insights about how microbes populating our intestines and excreted in our stool--known as the microbiome--could be transformative in dealing with conditions such as typhoid, cholera and malnutrition. They also will explore the fact that, essentially, all poop is local, meaning that local diets and other conditions create distinctly different communities of microbes in different parts of the world. The current concentration of microbiome research in North America and Europe is developed with the family of microbes that are not found people or communities in low-income countries and risks creating a global disparity in terms of who benefits from novel treatments like fecal transplants.
Updates on India's Nipah Virus Outbreak: The latest insights and lessons from a recent outbreak in India of Nipah virus infection, a dangerous disease carried by fruit bats--and sometimes spread by infected pigs--that can quickly lead to respiratory problems and fatal swelling in the brain. It has no known cure.
Ethics of Intentional Infections: Deliberately exposing human volunteers, with their informed consent and in carefully controlled conditions, to dangerous diseases like malaria, dengue and cholera has been crucial to finding new forms of treatment and prevention. Experts from around the world will discuss the complicated scientific, ethical and regulatory challenges of conducting controlled human infection studies in low- and middle-income countries, which typically face the highest burden of the targeted disease.
About the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, founded in 1903, is the largest international scientific organization of experts dedicated to reducing the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases and improving global health. It accomplishes this through generating and sharing scientific evidence, informing health policies and practices, fostering career development, recognizing excellence, and advocating for investment in tropical medicine/global health research. For more information, visit astmh.org.