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Control and Elimination of Visceral Leishmaniasis

Understand the spread of visceral leishmaniasis (also known as kala-azar), and gain practical tools to control it in your setting

2,375 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Control and combat visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar)

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) - also known as kala-azar - is endemic in parts of South Asia, East Africa, Southern Europe and South America. It is fatal if untreated, but the tools do exist to control and even eliminate VL transmission in some of these areas.

This online course will you give you an understanding of the biology and epidemiology of VL, then explain practical control and elimination tools that you can use to combat it.

You’ll look at real-world examples of current VL control and elimination programmes, and find out how to implement and evaluate a programme in your own setting.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds VANESSA YARDLEY: According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, over half a billion people are at risk of being infected with the disease called visceral leishmaniasis. It is a disease that typically affects the poor and other vulnerable groups and it is a disease that is invariably fatal if untreated. So what can we do about visceral leishmaniasis? Well, there are diagnostics available and treatments that can be used that give complete recovery. Other tools exist to enable control of visceral leishmaniasis and reduce the burden of disease in the human populations affected. I’m Vanessa Yardley, Assistant Professor

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds SIMON CROFT: and I’m Simon Croft, Professor of parasitology here, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We’re the lead educators for this course. Our institute is a world-famous centre of excellence in the field of tropical medicine and public health and has particular expertise in neglected tropical disease research. As part of a group of scientists and clinicians working on visceral leishmaniasis, we are able to call on their knowledge and experience to contribute to this course. The school is also a lead partner in the UK aid-funded KalaCORE programme, which is supporting this course.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds VANESSA YARDLEY: Over the course of four weeks, we will cover the basic biology of the parasite that causes visceral leishmaniasis, the sand-fly that transmits the parasite, and the distribution and burden of the disease. We will introduce you to the methods to diagnose and treat VL in disease endemic countries. We will then discuss the different methods involved in the control of VL and give practical advice on how to approach disease control.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds SIMON CROFT: We will lead you through a series of videos, articles, and interviews, which will include contributions from experts on visceral leishmaniasis; experts who are trained in public health, in treatment, and disease control in South Asia and East Africa. We’ve designed the course to inform people who are directly involved with the control of leishmaniasis. By bringing together all aspects of VL control and elimination, we anticipate the course will be relevant to health workers and other stakeholders with an interest in the control and elimination of visceral leishmaniasis.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 - Introduction to VL

  • Introduction to the biology, vectors and epidemiology of VL
  • Importance of controlling VL

Week 2 - Clinical management of VL: Diagnosis and treatment

  • Clinical symptoms and different VL diagnostic tools
  • Treatment regimens and anti-leishmanial drugs

Week 3 - Focusing on the vector of VL

  • Sand fly biology and behaviour
  • Vector-parasite interaction
  • Vector control tools
  • Emerging challenges in vector control

Week 4 - Tools that complement clinical management and vector control for control and elimination programmes against VL

  • Surveillance
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Outbreaks and outbreak management
  • Health system strengthening
  • Community education
  • Elimination & sustainability of control

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the cause of visceral leishmaniasis, the way it is transmitted and the basic epidemiology of the disease.
  • Identify the symptoms and the tools used for the diagnosis and treatment of visceral leishmaniasis, in order to improve case management.
  • Explore the use of vector control methods to prevent bites from infected sand-flies such as using bed-nets and insecticides.
  • Reflect on the realities of implementing a VL control programme and the role of community outreach, disease surveillance and control program evaluation.

Who is the course for?

This will be the last presentation of this course.

This course is designed for healthcare professionals who are working in the field on visceral leishmaniasis control. It will also be useful for those with an interest in neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and vector control.

Who will you learn with?

I am an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Infectious & Tropical Disease at LSHTM. My interests are in drug discovery, particularly for kinetoplastid infections, and in parasitology.

I am a Professor of Parasitology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I have worked on leishmaniasis for over 40 years, mainly on drug discovery and development.

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

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