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Table 1 Similarities and differences between COVID-19 and four selected zoonotic neglected tropical diseases

From: Strategies supporting the prevention and control of neglected tropical diseases during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

General aspects COVID-19 Schistosomiasis Cystic echinococcosis Leishmaniasis Human African trypanosomiasis
Aetiological agent SARS-CoV-2 Schistosoma spp. Echinococcus spp. Leishmania spp. Trypanosoma spp.
Transmission route • Animal-to-human
• Human-to-human
• Human-to-snail-to-human (might involve another host, e.g. water buffalo) • Dog-to-sheep-to-dog (humans as accidental or aberrant intermediate hosts)
• Different animals act as either definitive or intermediate host
• Human-to-insect vector-to-human, other mammals (e.g. dogs) can act as host • Human-to-insect vector-to-human, occasionally another mammal (e.g. wild ungulates) acts as reservoirs
Prevention • Avoid close contact/close confinement with sylvatic animal reservoir
• Social distancing
• Hand hygiene
• Avoid crowded places
• Environmental disinfection
• Face masks
• Personal protective equipment for health care personnel
• Avoid contact with fresh- water that may be infested with schistosome parasites • Avoid contact with faecal matter of wild animals and dogs
• Hand hygiene after handling dogs
• Use of insect repellent, insecticides and bed nets • Minimize contact with vector (i.e. tsetse flies)
Main control strategies • Physical distancing (individual/school/workplace closures/border closures)
• Case isolation
• Contact tracing
• Overall epidemic alert and response measures including risk communication
• Health education
• Mass drug administration
• Snail control strategies
• Improved sanitation
• Health education
• Limit the interactions between dogs and rodent populations
• Prevent dogs from feeding on the carcasses of infected sheep
• Control stray dog populations
• Early diagnosis and treatment, especially more efficacious drugs
• Vector control
• Control stray dog populations
• Environmental management
• Active and passive case detection and treatment of confirmed cases
• Vector control strategies
• Management of the animal reservoir
• Environmental management
Challenges • Vaccine and drugs development
• Improvement in animal health surveillance and further wildlife studies to increase knowledge on animal reservoir
• Vaccines
• Improvement in animal health surveillance focused on cattle
• Snail control
• Vaccine and new diagnostic methods
• New drugs
• Improved collaboration with animal health sector to improve surveillance (e.g. slaughter houses)
• Vaccine
• New drugs
• Improved reservoir and vector control methods
• Improved control of stray dog populations where visceral leishmaniasis is most prevalent
• Timely diagnosis to avoid high out-of-pocket health expenditures
• Vaccine
• Development of new control methods
• Surveillance strategies
  1. COVID-19 Coronavirus disease 2019, SARS-CoV-2 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2