Prevention & Control of Lymphatic Filariasis

How to Prevent Transmission? Detection & treatment of microfilaria carriers and recurrent anti mosquito measures.

How can the menace of filariasis be controlled? Filariasis can be controlled by employing measures to eliminate the parasite in humans as well as the vectors. DEC (Diethyl Carbamazine) is a drug which is effective in the treatment of filariasis. DEC is still the only drug available for chemotherapeutic control of filariasis. The administration of DEC can be carried out in various ways:

Mass administration to all persons in the community irrespective of whether they had filariasis, was tried in the late 1950s and met with little success. It is an expensive approach and relies on the people to take the medicine, and non–compliance was one of the reasons for failure. It also requires intensive health education of the general public. Currently, the approach is based on detection and treatment of human carriers and filarial cases. The recommended dose in the Indian program is 6 mg DEC per kg of body weight daily for 12 doses, to be completed in two weeks (i.e. six days a week). In endemic areas, treatment must be repeated at specified intervals, usually every two years.

Addition of DEC to salt for mass treatment This strategy has been tried in the Island of Lakshwadeep and has been quite successful. It is also a cheap and safe method. Common salt medicated with 1–4 g of DEC per kg.

Mosquito control measures This is achieved by spraying insecticides (anti–larval oils or organophosphates) which are lethal to the larvae of the mosquitoes. This strategy is largely done in the urban areas in India.