Lymphatic filariasis : elimination in the Americas
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Lymphatic filariasis : elimination in the Americas

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      Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disabling parasitic disease caused by microscopic worms that are spread from person-to-person by the bite of an infected mosquito. The adult worms live in the human lymphatic system and can cause lymphedema (swelling) affecting the legs, arms, or breasts. They can also cause hydrocele (severe fluid accumulation) affecting the genitalia of men. Chronic manifestations of lymphatic filariasis, which usually take place years after initial infection, can cause pain, severe and irreversible disfigurement, and stigmatization.

      Lymphatic filariasis is one of the world’s neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), a group of infectious diseases affecting more than 1 billion people that is responsible for tremendous suffering and economic loss. LF is recognized as one of the most disabling and economically costly NTDs, as infection with the disease can lead to lower productivity and inability to work.

      In the Americas, 11.3 million persons are at-risk for acquiring the disease. Transmission has been interrupted in Costa Rica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago through focused public health efforts bringing treatment to affected communities. Currently, there is active transmission in only four countries in the Americas: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Haiti. As of late 2009, nearly 5 million persons living in the Americas have received MDA.


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