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About Lymphatic Filariasis

Focus: GS II: Health

Why in News?

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare chairs National Symposium on India’s Roadmap to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)

About Lymphatic Filariasis

  • LF, also known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease (NTD) that is considered the second most disabling disease after mental health.
  • It affects the lymphatic system, leading to abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma.
  • The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and specialized tissues essential for maintaining overall fluid balance and health of organs and limbs and is a major component of the body’s immune defense system.
  • Lymphatic filariasis is a vector-borne disease caused by infection with nematode (roundworm) parasites of the family Filarioidea, with three main types of thread-like filarial worms: Wuchereria Bancrofti (90% of cases), Brugia Malayi (most of the remainder of cases), and Brugia Timori.
  • To accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a treatment plan known as IDA, which involves administering a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate, and albendazole for two consecutive years.
  • This is because the adult worm’s life span is only four years, so administering the drugs for two consecutive years will ensure that the worms die naturally without causing any harm to the person.

December 2023