Oriol Mitjà

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Oriol Mitjà
FPdGi Valencia 016.jpg
Born1980 Edit this on Wikidata
Arenys de Munt Edit this on Wikidata
Alma mater
OccupationPhysician, scientist edit this on wikidata
AwardsPrince of Girona award, Catalan of the Year Award, Peace prize of the United Nations Association, International Award Alfonso Comín Edit this on Wikidata

Oriol Mitjà i Villar (Arenys de Munt, born 1980)[1] is a Catalan researcher and consultant physician in internal medicine and infectious diseases with expertise in poverty-related tropical diseases. He has conducted research at the Lihir Medical Centre in Papua New Guinea since 2010 on new diagnostic and therapeutic tools to eradicate yaws.


Oriol Mitjà graduated in medicine from the University of Barcelona in 2004, after completing a residency in infectious diseases[2] and a diploma in Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.[3] In 2012, he finished his Ph.D. in Medicine in Barcelona; his thesis was entitled "Strategies for the control of the yaws and other neglected tropical diseases of the South Pacific islands" and was based on his on-site research at the Lihir medical center in Papua New Guinea.[4]

Professional activity[edit]

After finishing his activity as a resident doctor, Mitjà focused on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to control and eradicate skin neglected tropical diseases, particularly yaws - which is a chronic and debilitating bacterial infection that affects the skin and bones.

Since 2010, he collaborated with CRESIB, Health Research Center of Barcelona (currently integrated into the Barcelona Institute of Global Health). He conducted a randomized trial and published in 'The Lancet' [5] that revealed that a single-dose oral azithromycin is effective to cure yaws and is easier and safer to administer as compared to the standard treatment with injectable penicillin. Accordingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) changed the treatment policies to recommend the use of azithromycin as the first-line treatment for yaws.

Mitjà is currently Assistant Professor at the Institute of Global Health of Barcelona, Special Adviser in Neglected Tropical Diseases to the WHO, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Public Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Papua New Guinea.

Eradicating yaws[edit]

The previous yaws eradication campaign was launched in 1952 with estimated cases totaled 50 million worldwide. Twelve years later, prevalence had plunged by 95%. Governments and funding agencies soon lost interest and infection rates began climbing back up in the 1970s. The present WHO eradication strategy for yaws is mass treatment with single-dose oral azithromycin, followed by resurveys to find residual cases. Mitjà has demonstrated that the new strategy is effective in eliminating yaws from endemic countries and if implemented everywhere could result in yaws eradication, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Prizes and distinctions[edit]

In 2012, Mitjà was awarded the Swiss Foundation Anne-Maurer Cecchini prize as a result of the publication of the aforementioned study in The Lancet

In 2013, he was awarded the Prince of Girona Foundation [6] for Scientific Research for his "exemplary dedication in the field of endemic infectious diseases in developing countries and the great international impact of his work aimed at eradicating yaws disease of the planet".

In 2015, a documentary about his research project called "Where the Roads End" was produced by Noemí Cuní/David Fonseca.

In 2016, he received the Catalan of the Year Award and in 2017 received peace awards from the Association for United Nations in Spain[7] and the International Award Alfonso Comín,[8] in recognition of his work in favor of improving the living conditions of the people affected by the yaws.


  • Mitjà, O; Hays, R; Ipai, A; et al. (2012-01-28). "Single-dose azithromycin versus benzathine benzylpenicillin for treatment of yaws in children in Papua New Guinea: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised trial". Lancet. 379 (9813): 342–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61624-3. PMID 22240407.
  • Mitjà O; Houinei W; Moses P; at al. (2015). "Mass treatment with single-dose azithromycin for yaws". New England Journal of Medicine. 372 (8): 703–10. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1408586. PMID 25693010.
  • Mitjà O; Godornes C; Houinei W; at al. (2018). "Re-emergence of yaws after single mass azithromycin treatment followed by targeted treatment: a longitudinal study". The Lancet. 391 (10130): 1599–1607. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30204-6. PMID 29456191.*Mitja O, Marks M, Konan DPJ, et al. Global epidemiology of yaws: a systematic review. Lancet Global Health 2015; 3:e324-331. [IF:54.42]
  • Mitja O, Asiedu K, Mabey D. Yaws. Lancet 2013; 381: 763-73.


  1. ^ Gallardo, Angels (2017-04-27). "El pian es pot erradicar, el cura una sola pastilla". El Periódico (in Catalan): 39. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  2. ^ Institut de Salut Global (ed.). "Equip ISGlobal" (in Catalan). Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  3. ^ Col·legi oficial de metges de Barcelona, ed. (2014-12-22). "El Dr. Oriol Mitjà, beca Bada de cooperació 2009, protagonitza La Contra de La Vanguardia" (in Catalan). Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  4. ^ Mitjà, Oriol (2012). Strategies to control yaws and other neglected tropical diseases in the South Pacific Islands. Universitat de Barcelona. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  5. ^ Mitjà, O; Hays, R; Ipai, A; et al. (2012-01-28). "Single-dose azithromycin versus benzathine benzylpenicillin for treatment of yaws in children in Papua New Guinea: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised trial". The Lancet. 379 (9813): 342–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61624-3. PMID 22240407.
  6. ^ A. M. Y. (2013-04-04). "El metge Oriol Mitjà, premi Príncep de Girona de ciència". El Periodico (in Catalan). Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  7. ^ 324cat, ed. (2017-11-29). "Oriol Mitjà rep el premi per la Pau per la seva feina contra la malaltia de Pian" (in Catalan). CCMA. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Llebaria Ramis, Mariona. "Fundació Alfons Comín". Retrieved 2018-07-07.

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