Lymphatic filariasis


Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis as a Public Health Problem

In 1997, as a result of advances in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphatic filariasis (LF), the disease was classed as one of six infectious diseases considered to be “eradicable” or “potentially eradicable”. Consequently, the World Health Assembly adopted resolution 50.29, calling for elimination of the disease as a global public health problem. This resolution is further supported in WHA66.12 calling on the concerted efforts expand and implement interventions against neglected tropical diseases to achieve targets set out in the NTD Roadmap and sustain commitments noted in the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Interruption of transmission of infection can only be achieved if the entire population at risk is covered by mass drug administration (MDA) for a period long enough to ensure a reduction in the level of microfilariae in the blood to a point where transmission can no longer be sustained. The following recommended drug regimens must be administered once a year for at least 5 years, with a coverage of at least 65% of the total at-risk population:

  • 6 mg/kg of body weight diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) + 400 mg albendazole; or
  • 150 µg/kg of body weight ivermectin + 400 mg albendazole (in areas that are also endemic for onchocerciasis).
  • 400 mg albendazole preferably twice per year (in areas that are also endemic for Loa loa).