IN NEWS: Lao PDR becomes the second country in 2023 after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.

  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic has eliminated lymphatic filariasis (LF), a disease that cripples and has a significant social and economic impact on the affected communities, according to the World Health Organization.

Lymphatic filariasis

  • India aims to eliminate filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target.
  • Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease.
  • Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.
  • Infection is usually acquired in childhood and causes hidden damage to the lymphatic system.
  • Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea.

There are three 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.

Lymphatic filariasis is transmitted by different types of mosquitoes

  • Culex mosquito, widespread across urban and semi-urban areas
  • Anopheles mosquito,mainly found in rural areas
  • Aedes mosquito, mainly on endemic islands in the Pacific.


  • It involves asymptomatic, acute, and chronic conditions.
  • In chronic conditions, it leads to lymphoedema (tissue swelling) or elephantiasis (skin or tissue thickening) of the limbs and hydrocele (scrotal swelling).


  • The WHO-recommended preventive chemotherapy strategy for lymphatic filariasis elimination is mass drug administration (MDA).

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