Lymphatic Filariasis

1 min read
Lymphatic Filariasis Blog Image


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Lao People’s Democratic Republic will become the second country in 2023 after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.

About Lymphatic Filariasis

  • It is commonly known as elephantiasis and it is a neglected tropical disease.
  • Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. This impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma. 
  • Cause: It 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: About two in every three people who have lymphatic filariasis don’t have severe symptoms but filariasis usually leads to a weakened immune system. Some people may experience inflammation, Lymphedema, Hydrocele and Edema.
  • Treatment:
    • The World Health Organisation recommended preventive chemotherapy strategy for lymphatic filariasis elimination is mass drug administration (MDA).
    • MDA involves administering an annual dose of medicines to the entire at-risk population.
  • Global Initiatives to Eradicate Lymphatic Filariasis:
    • WHO’s road map 2021−2030: Sets global targets and milestones to prevent, control, eliminate or eradicate 20 diseases.
    • Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF): WHO established this to stop the transmission of infection by mass drug administration (MDA) of anthelmintics and to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the disease through morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP).
  • According to the WHO progress report on the disease, Nineteen countries have been able to eliminate this disease.
    • Of the 19 countries, 11 belong to the WHO Western Pacific Region (WPR). Lao PDR is 11th country in the WPR region to successfully eliminate LF.
    • South-East Asia region: Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand. 
    • Africa region:Malawi and Togo 

Q1) What is parasite

A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism (the host) and derives its nourishment and existence from the host, typically harming the host in the process. Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits (the parasite) at the expense of the other (the host).

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