Elimination of lymphatic filariasis: adapting to reach the end game

Published on July 28, 2021   41 min

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My name is Patrick Lammie, and I'm the Director of the NTD Support Center at the Task Force for Global Health. Today I'm going to talk about the elimination of lymphatic filariasis. The global program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF for short) has been an enormous public health success over the past two decades, reducing the number of infected people around the world by over 70 percent. Nonetheless challenges remain, and some adaptations are needed for the end game, the complete elimination of LF.
In my presentation today I'm going to: provide a quick overview of the biology of LF; talk about the rationale and design of the LF elimination program; discuss how we measure program impact; and talk about the remaining challenges which must be solved, in order to achieve global success.
As a starting point, it's important to recognize that LF is one of a number of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that are associated with poverty around the world. NTDs affect more than a billion people. They cause anemia, stunt childhood development, cause blindness, and chronic morbidity. In terms of this presentation, it's important to recognize that a number of these diseases can be controlled or eliminated using a common public health strategy, that is mass drug administration (MDA). For additional information on NTDs, I refer you to the presentation of Professor David Molyneux in this series,
LF is caused by three species of nematode parasites, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timuri. Of these, Wuchereria bancrofti is the most common, and is responsible for 90 percent of infections. We describe LF as 'circumtropical', distributed in a broad belt around the equator. As a historical note, W. bancrofti was first introduced to the Western Hemisphere by the slave trade, and became established in most New World settings that had a plantation-based economy.

Elimination of lymphatic filariasis: adapting to reach the end game

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