EDCD advises all to take anti-filariasis drugs

Kathmandu, February 24

Epidemiology and Disease Control Division has advised all to take medicines during its mass drug administration campaign against lymphatic filariasis. The campaign started in 24 districts today and will continue till February 26.

EDCD said it aimed to administer anti-filariais drugs to 9,154,000 people.

However, it has warned children below the age of two years and people above the age of 70, pregnant women, new mothers, chronic patients and people suffering from epilepsy not to consume the medicines. The medicines are being administered by trained health workers.

“We will know the exact number of people taking the medicines only after the campaign is over. However, looking at past records it is estimated that the campaign would cover 75 per cent of the targeted population,” said Dr Bhim Acharya, director, EDCD.

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.

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.