Global programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis: progress report, 2015. Weekly Epidemiological Record. WHO, 2016
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a vector-borne neglected tropical disease. Hydrocoele, lymphoedema and elephantiasis are the chronic disabling consequences of the damage caused by infections of the lymphatic vessels with 3 species of filarial parasites, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and B. timori. Infections are mainly hidden and often acquired during child-hood leading to a lifetime of an impaired lymphatic system and increased risk of debilitating episodes of adenolymphangitis (ADL).
Reduced productivity experienced by LF patients results in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses each year. Recognizing the economic impact, disability and social stigma caused by LF and the availability of strategies to prevent infections and manage morbidity, WHO Member States committed to the global elimination of the disease as a public health problem.
The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) established in 2000 by WHO represents the collective pursuit of governments, research institutions, donors, and non-government organizations to fulfil this global commitment by stopping the spread of infection and alleviating suffering among patients. Interventions in GPELF are estimated to have prevented or cured more than 97 million cases and to avert more than US$ 100 billion in economic losses over the lifetime of those who have benefited so far. Yet despite the impact and value associated with eliminating LF, many countries still lack the investments required to implement the needed interventions.