Lymphatic Filariasis : Eradicating By 2027
Union Health & Family Welfare Minister recently said India is committed to eradicating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, surpassing the global target by three years.
- Lymphatic Filariasis commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease.
- Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.
- This impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma.
- It s caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea.
- There are 3 types of these thread-like filarial worms:
- Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases.
- Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases.
- Brugia timori, which also causes the disease.
- Adult worms nest in the lymphatic vessels and disrupt the normal function of the lymphatic system.
- The worms can live for approximately 6–8 years and, during their lifetime, produce millions of microfilariae (immature larvae) that circulate in the blood.
- Transmission: Mosquitoes are infected with microfilariae by ingesting blood when biting an infected host.
- Microfilariae mature into infective larvae within the mosquito. When infected mosquitoes bite people, mature parasite larvae are deposited on the skin, from where they can enter the body.
- Symptoms: About two in every three people who have lymphatic filariasis don’t have severe symptoms. But filariasis usually leads to a weakened immune system. Some people may experience:
- Inflammation: An overactivated immune system.
- Lymphedema: Fluid buildup in your lymphatic system.
- Hydrocele: Swelling and fluid buildup in the scrotum.
- Edema: Swelling and fluid buildup in your arms, legs, breasts and female genitals (vulva).