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Diversity of topics relevant to the Brazilian public health was featured in 2018 MedTrop

This year’s Medtrop theme was “Communicable diseases, prediction and challenges to face new and old epidemics”. The event gathered the tropical community of 13 countries of four continents


Besides Brazilian participants, MEDTROP 2018 gathered participants from several countries, as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, USA, France, UK, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, South Africa, among others, in Recife to debate the challenges of emerging diseases and advances in researches on tropical neglected diseases in Brazil and in the world. Absolute success defines the 54th edition of the Congress of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine, that took place in Recife, from September 2 to 5

The 2018 edition accounted 3.406 participants, 470 speakers and 86 members of the Organizing and Scientific Committees, in addition to 23 exhibitors, 78 professionals and 184 monitors who worked with dedication to the success of the Congress. The program was very rich and counted with the presentation of 242 Oral Free themes, 3.444 posters, 5 workshops, 20 pre-congress courses, 11 conferences, 21 lectures, four satellite meetings (VII Workshops of the REDE-TB (TB Network); Tropical Diseases Vector Genetics and Molecular Biology Workshop, Entomol_SOVE Brazil, XXXIII Annual Meeting of Chagas Disease research and XXI Annual Meeting of Applied Research in Leishmaniasis/ChagasLeish 2018 and the XV National Meeting of Malaria Research), three sponsored satellite symposia, and the exhibition of documentaries in the CineMedTrop. The scientific program included issues related to advances in diagnosis, treatment and control of infectious and parasitic diseases, with special emphasis on the diseases of neglected populations.

The scientific program promoted discussions on endemic viral, bacterial, parasitic diseases, as well as the medical entomology and several aspects of these diseases, as the vaccine development, diagnostics, control and basic and applied researches. The scientific program was very diversified, with simultaneous lectures, it approached issues of great relevance.

The Congress managed to evaluate, along with the professionals and health authorities, the effectiveness of public health surveillance and control programs, regarding the emergence and re-emergence of outbreaks. Other relevant themes discussed during the event involved the progress of cohort studies on Zika Congenital Syndrome in Infants, with consequences of microcephaly and neurological problems; besides the evaluation on postgraduate courses in the field, publications in scientific journals and the problems of sanitation in the country.

The concern with more aggressive dengue virus that has worried experts came to prominence during the MedTrop. The dengue serotype 2 is returning, especially in the State of Goiás, where a good surveillance of cases is held. That if we consider the possibility of a repeating the situation we faced years ago (in the 1990s, the DEN-2 brought cases of hemorrhagic dengue). Since the chances do exist, we recommend that health authorities are prepared in the best way possible to face a possible increase in the number of cases, says physician and pharmacist Dr. Felipe Lorenzato, in a round table.

The re-emergence of measles was another theme of the round tables. The prevention and control of the disease were concerns highlighted by the Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Jarbas Barbosa, who presented during his Conference, a new milestone to eliminate communicable diseases until 2030. Dr. Jarbas Barbosa reaffirmed the commitment of the PAHO in working along with the American countries to eliminate communicable diseases in this term. A new action framework was presented during the Congress.

The Zika virus and the challenges posed to public health were discussed during the first conference of the event and recalled the Brazilian response to the epidemic. The lecture by Maria de Fátima Pessoa Militão de Albuquerque, a member of the Research Group on the Epidemic of Microcephaly (MERG) at Fiocruz Pernambuco, presented a timeline of the epidemic, which first took place in Brazil before spreading to over 40 countries.

Dr. Ana Carolina Faria e Silva, from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) in Brazil, and Dr. Renato Vieira, general coordinator of Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health, participated in the roundtable Global vector control response / 2017-2030: is it possible to achieve?. At the time, the tool used by the World Health Organization (WHO) for vector control was mentioned, as well as the Global vector control response 2017-2030, a document adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2017 and that has as main objective to point interventions to reduce the burden of vector-borne diseases affecting humans.

The preparation and response to pandemics of Influenza, like the one that occurred in 2009, were also approached. The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (PIP) was presented, a tool that has the main objective to create a system able to enhance and strengthen the exchange of viral viruses with pandemic potentials for humans and allow countries needing vaccines and drugs to save lives are able to have a more predictable, efficient and equitable access during future pandemics. Dr. Nancy Baker, infectious disease specialist at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), spoke about the drugs currently used in Brazil against Influenza, the oseltamivir, besides drugs that are in development and testing and which, in short, should be available, as other treatment options.

The MedTrop 2018 also had a roundtable on venomous animals, in which biologists from four Brazilian states discussed the epidemiology and treatment of accidents by poisonous animals. Dr. Maria da Graça pointed out that in the last three years there has been a decrease in investments, yet there are four institutes producing sera in Brazil. Butantã is the main laboratory, accounting for 80% of the production in the country, but appropriate sera are still necessary against certain species.

The round table The Epidemiological Situation and Prevalence of HIV, Syphilis, and Viral Hepatitis in Vulnerable Populations to STDs in Brazil, presented the epidemiological situation and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STD) in vulnerable populations in the country. The studies are the evidence underlying the strategic Agenda to expand access and full care of key-populations in HIV, viral hepatitis and other STDs, released in March 2018 by the Ministry of health (MS).

During the round table Chikungunya in practice and its challenges, Dr. Andrew Seow, a researcher at the National Institute of infectious diseases (INI), presented the exhibition that brought the theme Natural history of Chikungunya: what to expect?. He addressed the signs presented by patients when they are in the chronic phase of the disease, such as poly arthralgia, which can cause joint pain that last from a few weeks to several years. However, 95% of adults are asymptomatic for the disease. What is the proportion of complication and chronicity? Are there risk factors/prediction that identify individuals who will become chronic? What are the physiopathology’s of the chronic disease? How can we change this course of the natural history of the disease? These are the issues that we, researchers, are working on and learning about chikungunya every day, he said.

The table New Clinical-Epidemiological Scenarios that emerge with the spread of Visceral leishmaniasis, coordinated by Dr. Dorcas Lamounier Costa described the territorial evolution of the disease detailing its progress in the South and Southeast. According to her, in the past the Leishmaniasis was confined in the North and Northeast, but now it is showing a trend of improvement, including in regions of Atlantic Forest of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, States that were considered immune. During her speech she presented genetic differences in the parasite as a way to understand the progress of the disease in the territories, in the infection of vectors on the evolution of clinical characteristics in patients. Finally, she showed the great impact that this burden represents in the health of the indigenous populations.

Dr. Carlos Henrique Nery Costa, a researcher at the Federal University of Piauí (UFPI), traced an overview of the international migrations of leishmaniasis over the years from Brazil and the risks that this movement brings to different populations of the world during the roundtable Latin American Migration: a new challenge for the control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. Aryadne Bittencourt, from Caritas Arquidiocesanas association from Rio de Janeiro and Maria Aparecida Shikanai-Yasuda, from the São Paulo University Medical School, presented a speech in which they evidenced the troubles faced by immigrants from Venezuela and Bolivia when seeking medical care in the Brazilian health system. According to them, the problems faced when starting a new life in Brazil are about the same for both, with precarious conditions of food, housing, employment and financial difficulties. It is necessary to rethink the policies and actions of Brazilian health so that primary care professionals to provide a more comprehensive and inclusive service, crossing the barriers of communication and social vulnerability, highlighted speakers.

Launch of the Epidemiological Bulletin about experiences of TB control programs

Within the 54° MedTrop program, the launch of the Epidemiological Bulletin about experiences of TB control programs : Because together we will detect, treat and end tuberculosis as a public health problem’. The newsletter brings reports of experiences of Brazilian States and municipalities in the development and implementation of actions to fight tuberculosis as a public health problem. The reported experiences, besides valuing the protagonism of tuberculosis control programs, help to establish a dialogue between health services and society.

Honors and Awards boosted the opening ceremony of the 54th MedTrop

The next Congress of the SBMT will be held in Belo Horizonte (MG), in next years July. The big news is that it will occur simultaneously with the XXVI Brazilian Congress of Parasitology (Brazilian Society of Parasitology), as well as applied research Meeting ChagasLeish 2019. We wait for everyone there!