Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Unfulfilled potential: using diethylcarbamazine-fortified salt to eliminate lymphatic filariasis

Patrick Lammie, Trevor Milner, Robin Houston

Fortifying salt with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) is a safe, low-cost and effective strategy to eliminate transmission of lymphatic filariasis. DEC-fortified salt has been used successfully in pilot projects in several countries and has been used operationally by China to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. The successful use of iodized salt to eliminate iodine-deficiency disorders is encouraging; similarly, fortified salt could be used as a vehicle to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. Despite the potential programmatic advantages of fortifying salt with DEC instead of undertaking mass administration of tablets, DEC-fortified salt remains an underutilized intervention. We discuss the reasons for this and suggest settings in which the use of DEC-fortified salt should be considered.