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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-17

Global elimination of lymphatic filariasis: origins, progress and challenges

Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.19544

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Lymphatic filariasis is a leading cause of chronic disability worldwide; an estimated 120 million persons are infected with the filarial parasites that cause the disease and an estimated 40 million persons suffer from chronic clinical manifestations, primarily lymphedema and hydrocele. Following a flurry of scientific advances during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the World Health Organization announced a Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) in 1998. Unlike most other disease eradication or elimination programmes, the goals of the GPELF are twofold: to interrupt transmission of the filarial parasite and to alleviate the suffering of those with filariasis-related disease. Embracing the challenge of morbidity control or disability alleviation has both challenged and enriched the GPELF. The paper reviews the scientific developments and decisions that led to the creation of the GPELF, highlights progress towards achieving programme goals and discusses the remaining challenges.

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