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American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 54th Annual Meeting, Dec. 11-15, 2005

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 54th Annual Meeting

More than 2,600 people attended the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) from Dec. 11-15 in Washington, D.C. "That's nearly double the attendance of four years ago," said Scientific Program Chairman Edward Ryan, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "That's a result of the growing attention to global health."

This year's meeting included promising results from a phase 2 trial of a hepatitis E vaccine that took place in Nepal, a study suggesting that biosignatures of infectious organisms can be identified and a malaria vaccine that was shown to have durable efficacy in African patients, Ryan said.

The RTS,S/AS02A malarial vaccine remained efficacious over an 18-month observation period, Pedro Alonso, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Barcelona, Spain, told ASTMH meeting attendees. Alonso and colleagues are testing the vaccine, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Inc., of London, U.K., in 1,442 children in Yaoundee, Cameroon. The children were vaccinated in a three-dose series in 2003.

"The vaccine has reduced clinical malarial episodes by 35% and severe malarial episodes by 49%. It is probably the best malaria vaccine out there," said Ryan.

Octavio Ramilo, M.D., of the Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Texas, reported finding specific biosignatures of infectious diseases in children presenting with fevers. Ryan noted that infectious organisms up-regulate or down-regulate specific genes, "so that in theory we will be able to make a diagnosis based on the fingerprint, whether it be a virus, bacteria or whatever. We are getting very highly predictive information [from the Dallas teams research]," he said.

In addition, Mrigendra P. Shresthra, M.D., and Robert Scott, M.D., of Walter Reed Army Medical Unit in Nepal, report that a hepatitis E vaccine is showing efficacy in phase 2 trials that are under way there. Ryan noted that hepatitis E viral infection carries a maternal mortality of between 40% and 50%.

IV Drug Effective Against Malaria in Soldiers

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Used for centuries as the purgative known as wormwood, extract of Artemisia annua in intravenous form clears the malaria parasite from the blood more rapidly than other anti-malarials currently on the market, according to U.S. Army investigators. They reported results using IV artesunate this week at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Washington, D.C.

Abstract

Malaria May Cause False-Positive HIV Seroreactivity

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A review of HIV serology tests in a hospital in Portugal suggests there may be a relatively high rate of false seropositivity in patients hospitalized with acute malaria. Treatment of malaria appears to resolve the problem, investigators announced this week at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Washington, D.C.

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Boiled, Stored Water Not Safe for Drinking Post-Tsunami

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- An assessment of household water quality in Indonesian communities affected by the December 2004 tsunami reveals that simply boiling water before storage does not keep it safe for drinking, according to a report presented this week at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Washington, D.C.

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CDC Refugee Program Curbs Intestinal Parasites

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program has been largely, but not completely, successful in reducing the prevalence of intestinal parasites in refugees, investigators reported this week at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, under way in Washington, D.C.

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