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Lymphatic Filariasis

  • 14 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare launched the first phase of the Bi-annual Nationwide Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign for Lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination.

Key Points

  • Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) caused by infection with filarial parasites transmitted through mosquitoes.
  • In 2021, approximately 882.5 million people in 44 countries lived in areas requiring preventive chemotherapy to halt the spread of infection.
  • LF is a serious public health problem in India. Currently, there are 345 lymphatic filariasis endemic districts in 20 states and union territories of the country.
    • 75% of MDA districts are from 5 states Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Odisha and Telangana.
  • LF is more prevalent among the urban poor and affects all segments of the rural population.
  • The infection starts in childhood and accumulates through adulthood, resulting in irreversible chronic disease conditions.
    • The disease inflicts stigma, mental suffering, social deprivation and economic loss and is a major cause of poverty in the affected communities.
  • 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 (responsible for 90% of the cases)
    • Brugia malayi (causes most of the remainder of the cases)
    • Brugia timori (which also causes the disease)
  • India's Initiatives:
    • MDA Campaign twice a year synchronized with National Deworming Day (10th Feb and 10th August)
    • India is committed to eliminating LF by 2027, three years before the global target.

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