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International Awards » Health Literature 

The Fred L. Soper Award 2000

Gerusa Dreyer and collaborators, Brazil. Article: "Acute attacks in the extremities of persons living in an area endemic for bancroftian filariasis: differentiation of two syndromes." Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 1999; 93:413-417. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública, 7(3), 2000.

Brazilian Researcher Won the Fred Soper Award for Best Scientific Publication

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The Pan American Health and Education Foundation, a US-based non-profit collaborating partner of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) awarded Dr. Gerusa Dreyer the Fred L. Soper Award for her outstanding contribution to the health literature in the Americas.

Dr. Dreyer, a Brazilian researcher from the Research Center Aggeu Magalhaes /FIOCRUZ, in Recife, Brazil, received the prestigious Award from Dr. George A.O. Alleyne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) during an official ceremony held in April in Brazil for her article: "Acute attacks in the extremities of persons living in an area endemic for bancroftian filariasis: differentiation of two syndromes" published in Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Bulletin, (1999) 93, 413-417.

Thanks to the work of Dr. Dreyer and her colleagues, the global lymphatic filariasis elimination program now recognizes two major lines of focus: not only interrupting transmission of the parasite, but also relieving the suffering of millions of people who already have the chronic sequelae of filarial disease. Just 10 years ago, when elephantiasis was thought to be caused by an immune response to the parasite, little hope was extended to these patients, who were told that the disease was progressive and that little could be done to reverse the process. During the last seven years the authors have been working on developing a prospective analysis of 600 patients who suffer with chronic lymphoedema and elephantiasis diseases in Recife as well as other areas of Brazil. Not only this team has elucidated the fact that most acute attacks in filariasis-endemic areas are caused by bacterial infections, and that these infections are the major risk factor for progression of lymphedema to elephantiasis; they have also shown that prevention of these attacks, through hygiene and cure and prevention of skin lesion, results in regression of the lymphedema to an astonishing degree.

"This is a recognition to the work of a multidiscipline team who has been working directly and indirectly with our team of researchers who generate this publication. Our purpose was to update information in the scientific community and then apply this information through patients who suffer of this disease", noted Dr. Dreyer. This group were conformed by: Zulma Medeiros, Maria Jose Netto, Nilma Cintra Leal, Luiz Gonzaga de Castro and Willy F. Piessens.

The Soper award, which consists of a certificate and a cash prize of US$1000, stimulates excellence in medical/public health research and writing, and recognizes significant contributions to the literature on health in the Region of the Americas.

Dr. Soper was the first elected Director of the Pan American Health Organization in 1947. Re-elected in 1950 and 1954, he inaugurated the modern era of PAHO and oversaw its integration with the World Health Organization. During his professional career, Dr. Soperís goal was to support health programs to eradicate malaria, urban yellow fever, smallpox and yaws in the Region of the Americas; he became the world authority on these deadly diseases. Dr. Soper published more than a hundred works in medical and public health journals throughout the world. His book Building the Health Bridge in 1970 reflects a true work for human solidarity.




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