Health Ministry launches nationwide campaign to combat filariasis

Source: The post is based on the article “Health Ministry launches nationwide campaign to combat filariasis” published in The Hindu on 14th February 2023.

What is the News?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a nationwide Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign aimed at ending filariasis disease.

What is Filariasis?

Lymphatic filariasis commonly known as elephantiasis is a neglected tropical disease. 

Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.

Causes: Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea. There are 3 types of these thread-like filarial worms:

Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases

Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases

Brugia timori, which also causes the disease.

Symptoms: Lymphatic filariasis infection involves asymptomatic, acute, and chronic conditions. In chronic conditions, it leads to lymphoedema (tissue swelling) or elephantiasis (skin/tissue thickening) of limbs and hydrocele (scrotal swelling).

Treatment: WHO recommended strategy for lymphatic filariasis elimination is mass drug administration(MDA).  

– MDA involves administering an annual dose of medicines to the entire at-risk population. 

– The medicines used have a limited effect on adult parasites but effectively reduce the density of microfilariae in the bloodstream and prevent the spread of parasites to mosquitoes.

What is the campaign launched by the Government of India against Filariasis?

The Government of India has launched a nationwide mass drug administration (MDA) campaign aimed at ending filariasis disease transmission through door-to-door administration of anti-filarial drugs, especially in 10 affected states.

These 10 affected states are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Note: Ministry of Health aims to eliminate filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target.

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