Global programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis: progress report, 2016
Weekly epidemiological record
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a vector-borne neglected tropical disease targeted for elimination as a public health problem. Hydrocoele, lymphoedema and elephantiasis are the chronic disabling consequences of the damage caused by infections of the lymphatic vessels with 3 species of filarial parasites, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and B. timori. Infections are mainly hidden and often acquired during childhood leading to a lifetime of an impaired lymphatic system and increased risk of debilitating episodes of adeno-lymphangitis (ADL). Reduced productivity experienced by LF patients results in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses each year.
The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) established by WHO aims to stop the spread of infection and alleviate suffering among patients. WHO recommends mass drug administration (MDA) and morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) to achieve these goals. Scaling-up these strategies is a feasible and cost effective approach to put an end to one of the world’s leading causes of avoidable disability.