Lymphatic Filariasis

Lymphatic Filariasis is a disease of the immune system that causes extreme swelling of the limbs, breasts, and genitals. Next to mental illness, the disease is the leading cause of disability in the world. 1.2 billion people worldwide are at risk for contracting LF. In Haiti, 88% of the population is at risk with the disease present in 118 out of the 135 communes.

Most people are infected with LF during childhood but the disease takes years to manifest physically. When it finally does, LF causes extreme pain, discomfort, and makes it difficult if not impossible to work. There is a large stigma around LF and those affected face social ostracization. LF leads to hardship due to loss of income, increased medical expense, and isolation-induced depression.

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How it Spreads

Microfilariae, the larvae of the parasitic worm that causes LF, circulate through the bloodstream. Once the Microfilariae reach the lymphatic system, the larvae grow into the adult worms that cause LF. A mosquito bites someone with LF, thus getting infected with microfilariae, and spreads it to the next person it bites.

Treatment

The Haiti Program’s current strategy for nationwide LF elimination draws primarily on two strategies: mass drug administration (MDA) and DEC-fortified salt products.

Research

10/25/16

How LF Spreads

The lymphatic filariasis parasite is transmitted in its larval stage by the mosquito vector Culex quinquifasciatus. Following the bite from an infected mosquito, larvae are given a chance to enter a human host...

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10/25/16

Stopping the Spread

In Haiti, where implementation of interventions has been plagued by numerous challenges that block health delivery, the LF elimination project has five potential tools that can be used selectively or in concert to break the chain of LF transmission...

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