This week in NTDs

Gilead Sciences announces a five-year partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to tackle visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The agreement will see the pharmaceutical company donating 445,000 vials of the drug AmBisome, which has been recommended as the safest, most effective treatment for VL. VL is widespread in South Asia and the Horn of Africa and has a mortality rate of almost 100 percent if it is not treated.

The first case of rabies in over 50 years was reported in South Carolina. The middle aged woman affected is thought to have contracted it from a bat  that entered her home a few months before. Rabies is carried by various animals into humans and is always fatal.

Delay in treatment for leprosy can cause permanent disability as a result of nerve damage. The Guardian this week presented a feature into living with disabilities with 14 personal case studies. One of these was Raghunath Mohanty, a 68 year old Indian man living with leprosy. He discusses the discrimination he has been subjected to because of widespread stigma associated with leprosy and how, thanks to the work of some NGOs, attitudes are changing.

End the Neglect this week publish an interesting look at the relationship between climate change, evolution and the spread of neglected diseases. It looks briefly at genetic studies which make some peoples more prone to disease than others, whilst also reflecting on the role that climate change has played in the spread of disease.

And finally, Wired comments on a paper published earlier this year looking at ‘Zoonoses in the bedroom’, which discussed health risks of letting pets sleep in owners’ beds. Targeting the 56 percent of dog owners and 62 percent of cat owners who allow their pets to sleep with them, dangers of hookworm, roundworm, rabies and Chagas disease are thought to arise. But the Wired columnist was not convinced.

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