Anti-filariasis campaign begins today

Kathmandu, February 23

The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division has said the mass drug administration campaign it was set to run against filariasis from tomorrow aims to eliminate the disease from the country by 2020.

It also said that the campaign aimed to reduce prevalence of the disease from 1.47 per cent to less than one per cent by 2018. EDCD is conducting mass drug administration campaign against filariasis on February 24, 25 and 26 in 24 districts.

DEC (Diethyl Carbamazine) and Albendazole will be administered to people in Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Bhojpur, Dhankuta, Morang, Udayapur, Lamjung, Parbat, Baglung, Kapilvastu, Dailekh, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Bajhang, Bajura, Achham, Doti, Kailali, Darchula, Baitadi, Dadheldhura and Kanchanpur.  EDCD said it aimed to administer anti-filariais drugs to 9,154,000 people.

Lymphatic filariasis is commonly known as elephantiasis. Three different filarial species — Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori can cause lymphatic filariasis in humans. Most of the infections in South Asia are caused by Wuchereria bancrofti as per Dr Anup Bastola, Consultant Tropical Medicine Physician at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku.

The infection spreads from person to person by the bite of culex mosquito. The adult worm lives in the human lymph vessels, mates, and produces microfilariae or microscopic worms. It circulates in the person’’s blood and infects the mosquito when it bites a person who is infected. Microfilariae grow and develop in the mosquito. When the mosquito bites another person, the larval worms pass from the mosquito into the human skin.

In Nepal, 61 of the districts are under the risk of filariasis.  Lymphatic filariasis impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma. As per World Health Organisation, 856 million people in 52 countries worldwide remain threatened by lymphatic filariasis and require preventive chemotherapy to stop the spread of this parasitic infection.