Policy brief : Lymphatic filariasis (LF)
Published Date:July 2014
Corporate Authors:Center for Global Health (U.S.). Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria.
Description:To date, close to 700 million individuals in some of the poorest areas globally have received treatment to prevent one of the world’s most incapacitating diseases, lymphatic filariasis.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disabling parasitic disease caused by microscopic worms that are spread from person-to-person by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The adult worms live in the human lymphatic system and can cause lymphedema (swelling) affecting the legs, arms, and breasts. They can also cause hydrocele (severe fluid accumulation) affecting the genitalia of men. The health impact of lymphatic filariasis usually appears many years after initial infection. LF causes chronic pain, severe and irreversible disfigurement, and social stigmatization. Treatment of communities where LF is transmitted can prevent new cases of disease.
Lymphatic filariasis is one of the world’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This group of infectious diseases affects more than 1 billion persons and is responsible for tremendous physical and emotional 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. However, LF can be prevented, and eventually eliminated from the world, using inexpensive medications.
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