Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health
The Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin contributes nationally and internationally to health promotion as well as prevention and treatment of tropical diseases.
In our Travel Clinic you will be individually consulted before your travel by specialized doctors on all relevant medical questions including current recommendations on malarial prophylaxis. All necessary vaccinations are offered. The Institute is also an official yellow fever vaccination center.
In our Outpatient Clinic we offer specialized services for the diagnosis and treatment of tropical diseases. In addition, our diagnostic laboratory offers a variety of investigation with a focus on parasitic infections, including rare parasitic infections.
The main Research areas of the Institute are malaria, helminthiases, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases in developing countries. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) the Institute of Tropical Medicine conducts partnership projects with clinics in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Globally, the Tropical Institute advises and supports institutions dealing with neglected tropical diseases.
Teaching at the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International includes the internationally recognised post-graduate Master of Science in International Health Program, Diploma- and Certificate degrees. The training and further education program of the Institute addresses clinicians and other health-related professions.
Novel-Corona Virus (2019-nCoV)
The Senate Department of Berlin has set up a citizens hotline (030) 90 28 28 28. People who think to be infected can call the number 90 28 28 28 for a medical consultation (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.).
The Senate Administration advises to stay at home in the event of a suspected case of an infection and to first of all contact the family doctor, emergency room or medical emergency service.
If you want, in this context, to visit the Tropical Institute of International Health please contact us in advance by phone (030) 450 565 712. Don’t take the public transport to visit us and use the surgical mask!
Here you can find the last informations about the Corona Virus: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/nCoV.html
eHealth: university and clinic partnerships in Sierra Leone and Rwanda
Projects on the use of digital strategies in African hospitals
The digitization of health cares has also and especially in middle and low income countries the potential to overcome long-standing problems. The Institute for Tropical Medicine and International Health has acquired two projects of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on eHealth in Africa. Sierra Leone focuses on the quality of care in obstetrics. Peripheral health care facilities will be connected to the reference maternity clinic in Freetown through a telemedicine counseling app. In Rwanda and a network with five other German-African clinic partnerships, mobile technologies are used to transfer findings from the laboratory to the hospital bed. This should ensure early and targeted antibiotic therapy and thus counteract the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Ebola emergency preparedness in Rwanda
Training, consulting and installation of isolation stations at hospitals
"The Ebola outbreak in the eastern Congo is still not under control and the danger of a regional spread high." (Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, 28.8.2019).
Since August 2018, in the Democratic Republic of Congo more than 3000 people have contracted Ebola, and 2000 people died. Rwanda too is feared for spreading the epidemic. For this reason, the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health has been supporting training and counseling measures there since 2018, and is also carrying out training courses within the framework of the 10-year clinic partnership with the University Hospital in Butare.
At the moment we are working together with the Robert Koch Institute, the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Rwandan health authorities to improve the protection of infection for the medical staff in bordering hospitals. This can help to detect, isolate and treat Ebola cases early in the event of a spillover epidemic. Most recently in August 2019 Dr. Maximilian Gertler from the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health in a joint mission with the local partners mentioned. At five hospitals in the west and south of the country as well as in the capital Kigali assessments of infection protection and counseling were made. At several locations, training-related and structural measures and measures for the optimization of infection control are now in preparation.
Summer School „Climate Change and Global Health“
Climate change affects health especially in the poorest countries
Climate change has significant consequences for individual and global health. In the framework of the Alumni Network of the Master Program International Health, the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health at the end of August 2019 will give a one-week summer school on climate change and global health. The participants from 20 countries discussed not only the health effects, but also aspects of air pollution, economy and justice. The Summer School is planned in the next years.
New WHO treatment guidelines for African trypanosomiasis
A new oral therapy for African trypanosomiasis allows a simplification of the therapy. The new WHO guideline has been prepared in collaboration with the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health.
The sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) is a neglected tropical disease that leads to death without treatment. After devastating epidemics in the last century, intensive control measures are being carried out on a historically low number of 977 reported cases in 2018. A simplification of the diagnosis and therapy are essential elements. However, the current standard therapy for stage II of the West African form (NECT: nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy) requires inpatient care and complex logistics for the transport of the drugs.
An oral therapy, fexinidazole, was developed by DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative), a non-profit organization, and its partners. Fexinidazole, effective in both disease states, greatly facilitates clinical practice; a lumbar puncture for staging can be avoided in many cases. By oral therapy the treatment finds place close to home, even in remote and unstable regions. However, NECT continues to be first-line therapy in a very advanced stage of the disease.
A new WHO guideline for the treatment of West African sleeping sickness was published in August 2019. Dr. Andreas Lindner from the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health was a member of the Guidelines Development Group. Congo (University of Kinshasa, Ministry of Health) and Uganda (Ministry of Health), the Tropical Institute in Lisbon, the University of Glasgow, the Institute for Development Research in Montpellier, the University Hospital Geneva, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel and representatives of the WHO Secretariat of Brazzaville, Kinshasa and Geneva.
PVL-CoCo: skin infections in travelers and contact persons
New study on the transmission of imported Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus (S.) aureus is a bacterium that frequently affects humans. Normally it doesn't lead to health problems. However in purulent skin and soft tissue infections S. aureus is a common pathogen. If S. aureus has the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) the virulence is significantly increased. PVL is especially associated with severe and recurrent skin and soft tissue infections (large skin abscesses).
Infections with a PVL strain are often described by travelers. At the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health of the Charité, about 30-50 patients every year are treated with one PVL strain. Diagnosis and treatment of infections with imported, PVL-producing S. aureus are hardly known in Germany and insufficiently researched.
StaphTrav (www.staphtrav.eu) is a network of 12 centers in 7 European countries that investigates the import of S. aureus with features such as MRSA and PVL toxin in intercontinental travelers with purulent skin infections. The Tropical Institute Berlin has included over 400 patients in this study since 2011. The resulting experience and insights form the basis of a new study, "PVL-CoCo" (contact cohort), which started in January 2019. "PVL-CoCo" investigates the extent to which PVL-positive staphylococci are transmitted from sick returnees to their close contacts and what measures should be taken. "PVL-CoCo" is a collaboration with the University of Heidelberg (Institute of Global Health and Department of Infectiology, Medical Microbiology and Hygiene).
Echinococcosis: the importance of an early diagnosis
Tapeworms in dogs and foxes
Cystic (dog tapeworm) and alveolar (fox tapeworm) Echinococcosis may produce no symptoms many years and can show life-threatening development after years. The pathogens are present also in Germany. However, our examinations show that especially migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan are particularly affected, how a specific screening of people from these regions show. At the Tropical Medical Outpatient Clinic, patients with suspected echinococcosis are examined and co-supervised. Our Outpatient Clinic cooperates with partners in Germany and abroad, especially with the Universities of Pavia / Italy and Ulm. Within the Charité we cooperate with various departments for optimal and sophisticated treatment including minimally invasive, percutaneous and surgical therapies.
Shistosomiasis rapid test of African migrants
New rapid test for often not diagnosed infection among migrants from Africa
Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in fresh water in subtropical and tropical regions. The worm or fluke (Päarchenegel) affects preferentially the blood vessels of the intestines and the urinary system. Between contagion and outbreak pass often many year, during which this illness doesn't show symptoms. The diagnosis could be significantly simplified by a new rapid test, that could be done in peripheral clinics ad medical practices. The Institute for Tropical Medicine and International Health in cooperation with the Vivantes Hospital, University Hospital Homburg / Saar, "Charité helps", established colleagues and the Bernhard Nocht Institute tests the reliability of the Circulating Cathodic Antigen (CCA) rapit test. The results are expected by the end of the year.