Eradication

Lymphatic filariasis is one of seven diseases worldwide that the WHO has targeted for eradication (Reference 28). As a result, there are many programs around the world dedicated to the eradication of this disease. Some of them operate differently or use different strategies, and the following page serves as a discussion of some of the similar and different techniques employed by global programs to eradicate lymphatic filariasis.

Prevalence Mapping

The Rapid Assessment of the Geographical distribution of bancroftian Filariasis (RAGFil) assesses the prevalence of lymphatic filariasis by tracking hydrocoele or filarial antigen cases. This assessment program estimates the geographic distribution of lymphatic filariasis over a space, and is an important tool in monitoring and controlling cases of the disease (Reference 29).

Community Directed Treatment

Involving important community members into eradication methods is an important component of many eradication programs. The cooperation from local health authorities, church leaders, community employees, etc. is necessary in carrying out an effective treatment program within a community. As a result, many MDT programs utilize Community Directed Treatment methods to help mobilize the community to receive their treatment and maintain the treatment program (Reference 30).

Interruption of Transmission

A key component to most eradication component is the interruption of transmission. This is done with a Mass Drug Treatment Program that involves the administration of drug therapy for at least 5 years. The long duration of the program, in addition to the logistical problems of administering drugs to a large population, makes the involvement of the community in a Community Directed Treatment program very important. The MDT involves an annual dosage of drugs to an entire population. Drug combinations differ according to the program, but many of the drugs are either donated for free, or are highly inexpensive. As discussed earlier, DEC can be added to table salt for an easy and cheap treatment of lymphatic filariasis. Other treatments include different combinations of ivermectin (donated by Merck), albendazole and DEC. All combinations have been found to be effective, but results may vary for each program (Reference 31).