Lao PDR becomes second country in 2023 after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis

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Source: The post is based on the article “Lao PDR becomes second country in 2023 after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis” published in “Down To Earth” on 19th October 2023

What is the News?

Lao People’s Democratic Republic has eliminated lymphatic filariasis (LF).

Note: Lao PDR is now the second country after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) in 2023.

What is Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)?

Lymphatic filariasis commonly known as elephantiasis is a neglected tropical disease.

Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.

Causes: Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea. There are 3 types of these thread-like filarial worms:

Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases

Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases

Brugia timori, which also causes the disease.

Symptoms: Lymphatic filariasis infection involves asymptomatic, acute, and chronic conditions. In chronic conditions, it leads to lymphoedema (tissue swelling) or elephantiasis (skin/tissue thickening) of limbs and hydrocele (scrotal swelling).

Treatment: WHO recommended strategy for lymphatic filariasis elimination is mass drug administration(MDA).  

– MDA involves administering an annual dose of medicines to the entire at-risk population. 

– The medicines used have a limited effect on adult parasites but effectively reduce the density of microfilariae in the bloodstream and prevent the spread of parasites to mosquitoes.

Lymphatic filariasis(LF) in India: India aims to eliminate Filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target.

For this, Government of India has launched a five-pronged strategy for elimination of LF.The five pillars are as follows:

– Multi-drug administration (MDA) Campaign twice a year synchronized with National Deworming Day (10th Feb and 10th August)

– Early diagnosis and treatment; engagement of medical colleges for strengthening Morbidity management and disability (MMDP) services

– Integrated Vector Control with multi sectoral coordinated efforts

– For inter sectoral convergence with allied departments and ministries

– Leveraging existing digital platforms for LF and exploring alternate diagnostics.

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