Global programme to eliminate lymphatic filariasis: progress report, 2018. Weekly Epidemiological Record. WHO, 2019
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a debilitating, disfiguring disease caused by infection with the filarial parasites Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and B. timori. The infection is transmitted by mosquito species of the genera Culex, Anopheles, Mansonia and Aedes. Parasites in the lymphatic vessels impair lymphatic function and cause lymphoedema and hydrocoele. Acute episodes of adenolymphangitis are a main cause of physical pain among people with LF. The aims of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF), established by WHO, are to stop transmission of infection by mass drug administration (MDA) and to alleviate suffering among affected patients by morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP).
Before establishment of the GPELF, LF was responsible for an estimated 5.25 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) and an annual economic loss of at least US$ 5.7 billion per year.1 WHO recommends feasible, cost-effective approaches to put an end to one of the world’s leading causes of avoidable disability.2, 3 After 16 years of the GPELF, LF was considered responsible for at least 1.3 million DALYs, representing a substantial effect of interventions, although the remaining burden is considerable.