NPR Examines Haiti’s National Campaign Against Lymphatic Filariasis

NPR’s “Shots” blog examines a nationwide campaign in Haiti “to get rid of the parasitic worms that cause elephantiasis,” also called lymphatic filariasis (LF). According to the news service, “Haiti has waged other campaigns against the condition, characterized by severe disfiguration of the legs and arms. But until now, it has never managed to adequately reach residents of the chaotic capital Port-au-Prince.” The blog states, “The latest effort by the Haitian Ministry of Health now puts the country on track to wipe out elephantiasis within the next four years, says a study published in the [CDC’s] Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” Noting “Haiti is one of just four countries in the Americas where elephantiasis remains endemic,” the blog continues, “The successful deworming campaign in Haiti is a major step forward not just for the country but for the whole region, says Patrick Lammie, an immunologist with the [CDC], who also contributed to the current study” (6/13). The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report details the mass drug administration (MDA) campaign in the country, noting the WHO “called for the elimination of LF by 2020, based on a strategy of annual MDA with drugs that clear microfilaria, the circulating stage of the parasite in humans” (6/14). The Global Dispatch provides information about the parasitic disease which “is transmitted to humans, like malaria and yellow fever, via a mosquito bite” (Herriman, 6/13).

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