By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF) reported this week that Yemen has eliminated lymphatic filariasis as public health problem, making them the second country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) to achieve this.
Yemen’s success comes after almost two decades of tremendous efforts of sustained elimination measures as recommended by WHO of the two pillars– mass drug administration (MDA) and morbidity management and disease prevention (MMDP) of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) strategy. After several rounds of MDA implementation, surveys since 2011 have validated that infection has been reduced to below transmission thresholds.
Transmission assessment surveys (TAS) conducted in 2013 and 2016 confirmed that Yemen had met all criteria for achieving elimination as a public health problem while, at the same time, management of morbidity in affected patients continued. Yemen will continue to improve its morbidity management programme treating patients with clinical symptoms as well as maintaing the appropriate level of surveillance to ensure continued zero transmission.
Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with parasitic worms living in the lymphatic system. The infection impairs the lymphatic system triggering abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma.
The larval stages of the parasite (microfilaria) circulate in the blood and are transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes.
The achievements of the Yemen PELF were made possible through the generous support and funding from the World Health Organization (WHO), the integration with the national leprosy programme (NLEP), the generous drug donations from the Mectizan Donation Program and GSK and the generous technical guidance of GPELF-WHO and GAELF.