Seventh meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis: reaching the vision by scaling up, scaling down, and reaching out.
ABSTRACT: This report summarizes the 7th meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF), Washington DC, November 18-19, 2012. The theme, "A Future Free of Lymphatic Filariasis: Reaching the Vision by Scaling Up, Scaling Down and Reaching Out", emphasized new strategies and partnerships necessary to reach the 2020 goal of elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) as a public-health problem.
Project description:The 6th Meeting of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GAELF6) was held 1-3 June, 2010 in Seoul, Korea, with 150 participants from 38 countries. The year 2010 marks the midpoint between the first GAELF meeting, in 2000, and the World Health Organization (WHO) 2020 goal of global elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) as a public health problem. The theme of the meeting, "Half-time in LF Elimination: Teaming Up with Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)," reflected significant integration of LF elimination programmes into a comprehensive initiative to control NTDs. Presentations on LF epidemiology, treatment, research, and programmes highlighted both accomplishments and remaining challenges.The WHO strategy to interrupt LF transmission is based on annual mass drug administration (MDA) using two-drug combinations. After mapping the geographic distribution of LF, MDA is implemented for ? 5 years, followed by a period of post-MDA surveillance, and, ultimately, verification of LF elimination. Morbidity management further reduces disease burden.Of 81 countries considered LF-endemic in 2000, 52 (64.2%) have begun MDA; 10 (12.3%) others with low-level transmission are unlikely to require MDA. In 2008, ~695 million people were offered treatment (51.7% of the at-risk population); ~496 million participated. Approximately 22 million people have been protected from LF infection and disease, with savings of ~US $24.2 billion. Morbidity management programmes have been implemented in 27 (33.3%) countries.Significant challenges to LF elimination remain. These include: initiating MDA in the remaining 19 countries that require it; achieving full geographic coverage in countries where MDA has started; finding alternative strategies to address the problem of Loa loa co-endemicity in Central Africa; developing strategies to treat urban populations; initiating and sustaining MDA in settings of armed conflict; developing refined guidelines and procedures for stopping MDA, for post-MDA surveillance, and for verifying the elimination of LF; and integrating morbidity management into all LF elimination programmes. Scientific research and enhanced advocacy for NTDs remain critical for addressing these challenges.GAELF6 was characterized by enthusiasm and recognition that "teaming up with NTDs" offers opportunities for new partnerships, fresh perspectives, enhanced advocacy, and greater programmatic integration in a rapidly changing global health environment.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Rapidly increasing temperatures in the mountain region of Nepal and recent reports of dengue fever and lymphatic filariasis cases from mountainous areas of central Nepal prompted us to study the spatio-temporal distribution of the vectors of these two diseases along an altitudinal transect in central Nepal. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We conducted a longitudinal study in four distinct physiographical regions of central Nepal from September 2011 to February 2012. We used BG-Sentinel and CDC light traps to capture adult mosquitoes. We found the geographical distribution of the dengue virus vectors Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus along our study transect to extend up to 1,310 m altitude in the Middle Mountain region (Kathmandu). The distribution of the lymphatic filariasis vector Culex quinquefasciatus extended up to at least 2,100 m in the High Mountain region (Dhunche). Statistical analysis showed a significant effect of the physiographical region and month of collection on the abundance of A. aegypti and C. quinquefasciatus only. BG-Sentinel traps captured significantly higher numbers of A. aegypti than CDC light traps. The meteorological factors temperature, rainfall and relative humidity had significant effects on the mean number of A. aegypti per BG-Sentinel trap. Temperature and relative humidity were significant predictors of the number of C. quinquefasciatus per CDC light trap. Dengue fever and lymphatic filariasis cases had previously been reported from all vector positive areas except Dhunche which was free of known lymphatic filariasis cases. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:We conclude that dengue virus vectors have already established stable populations up to the Middle Mountains of Nepal, supporting previous studies, and report for the first time the distribution of lymphatic filariasis vectors up to the High Mountain region of this country. The findings of our study should contribute to a better planning and scaling-up of mosquito-borne disease control programmes in the mountainous areas of Nepal.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lymphatic filariasis is a neglected tropical disease that can cause permanent disability through disruption of the lymphatic system. This disease is caused by parasitic filarial worms that are transmitted by mosquitos. Mass drug administration (MDA) of antihelmintics is recommended by WHO to eliminate lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem. This study aims to produce the first geospatial estimates of the global prevalence of lymphatic filariasis infection over time, to quantify progress towards elimination, and to identify geographical variation in distribution of infection. METHODS:A global dataset of georeferenced surveyed locations was used to model annual 2000-18 lymphatic filariasis prevalence for 73 current or previously endemic countries. We applied Bayesian model-based geostatistics and time series methods to generate spatially continuous estimates of global all-age 2000-18 prevalence of lymphatic filariasis infection mapped at a resolution of 5 km2 and aggregated to estimate total number of individuals infected. FINDINGS:We used 14?927 datapoints to fit the geospatial models. An estimated 199 million total individuals (95% uncertainty interval 174-234 million) worldwide were infected with lymphatic filariasis in 2000, with totals for WHO regions ranging from 3·1 million (1·6-5·7 million) in the region of the Americas to 107 million (91-134 million) in the South-East Asia region. By 2018, an estimated 51 million individuals (43-63 million) were infected. Broad declines in prevalence are observed globally, but focal areas in Africa and southeast Asia remain less likely to have attained infection prevalence thresholds proposed to achieve local elimination. INTERPRETATION:Although the prevalence of lymphatic filariasis infection has declined since 2000, MDA is still necessary across large populations in Africa and Asia. Our mapped estimates can be used to identify areas where the probability of meeting infection thresholds is low, and when coupled with large uncertainty in the predictions, indicate additional data collection or intervention might be warranted before MDA programmes cease. FUNDING:Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Project description:The lack of effective short-course therapies for treatment of the adult stage of filarial worms is a major limitation in the global effort to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. Studies using current small mammal models of lymphatic filariasis are limited by difficulties in quantifying adult worm numbers and in assessing lymphatic anatomy and function.Here, we re-established Brugia malayi infection of ferrets as a model for lymphatic filariasis and demonstrated parasitological, immunological, and histological parallels with human infection. Subcutaneous injection of L3 larvae into a hind-footpad resulted in a mean of 18 adult worms recovered 16 weeks post-infection, primarily from the draining inguinal and femoral lymphatics of the injected limb. Infected ferrets developed microfilaremia, with patency lasting from 12-26 weeks post-infection. Quantitative PCR assessing cytokine transcription by antigen-stimulated lymph node cells demonstrated a mixed Th1/Th2 response occurring during early infection. Immunoregulation with production of down-regulatory cytokine IL-10 occurred just prior to peak microfilaremia. Histological analysis revealed progressive inflammation of the lymphatic vessel walls, with intimal thickening and disorganization of collagen fibers. Inflammation was observed as early as 8 weeks post-infection and extended into the perivascular and subcutaneous tissues by 16 weeks post-infection. Finally, we developed a novel ferret PET/CT lymphoscintigraphy method demonstrating substantial changes in lymphatic anatomy and function as early as 3 weeks post-infection, with progression over the course of infection.B. malayi infection of ferrets is a robust model of human lymphatic filariasis that can be utilized to study efficacy of novel antifilarial agents against adult worms residing within lymphatic vessels. In conjunction with PET/CT lymphoscintigraphy, this model can also be used to investigate pathogenesis of lymphatic dysfunction in lymphatic filariasis and efficacy of medications aimed at reversing lymphatic dysfunction after clearance of adult worms.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis aims to interrupt transmission of lymphatic filariasis and manage morbidity in people currently living with the disease. A component of morbidity management is improving health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients. Measurement of HRQoL in current management programs is varied because of the lack of a standard HRQoL tool for use in the lymphatic filariasis population. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, the psychometric properties of three health status measures were compared when used in a group of lymphatic filariasis patients and healthy controls. The World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0), the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), and the Lymphatic Filariasis Quality of Life Questionnaire (LFSQQ) were administered to 36 stage II and stage III lymphatic filariasis subjects and 36 age and sex matched controls in Kerala, India. All three tools yielded missing value rates lower than 10%, suggesting high feasibility. Highest internal consistency was seen in the LFSQQ (? = 0.97). Discriminant validity analysis demonstrated that HRQoL was significantly lower in the LF group than in controls for the WHODAS 2.0, DLQI, and LFSQQ, but total HRQoL scores did not differ between stage II and stage III lymphedema subjects. The LFSQQ total score correlated most strongly with the WHODAS 2.0 (r = 0.91, p<0.001) and DLQI (r = 0.81, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The WHODAS 2.0, DLQI, and LFSQQ demonstrate acceptable feasibility, internal consistency, discriminate validity, and construct validity. Based on our psychometric analyses, the LFSQQ performs the best and is recommended for use in the lymphatic filariasis population.
Project description:The low prevalence levels associated with lymphatic filariasis elimination pose a challenge for effective disease surveillance. As more countries achieve the World Health Organization criteria for halting mass treatment and move on to surveillance, there is increasing reliance on the utility of transmission assessment surveys (TAS) to measure success. However, the long-term disease outcomes after passing TAS are largely untested. Using 3 well-established mathematical models, we show that low-level prevalence can be maintained for a long period after halting mass treatment and that true elimination (0% prevalence) is usually slow to achieve. The risk of resurgence after achieving current targets is low and is hard to predict using just current prevalence. Although resurgence is often quick (<5 years), it can still occur outside of the currently recommended postintervention surveillance period of 4-6 years. Our results highlight the need for ongoing and enhanced postintervention monitoring, beyond the scope of TAS, to ensure sustained success.
Project description:Lymphatic filariasis affects approximately 3% of the whole world population. Mass drug administration is currently the major control strategy to eradicate this infection from endemic regions by year 2020. Combination drug treatments are highly efficient in controlling the infection. However, there are no effective vaccines available for human or animal lymphatic filariasis despite the identification of several subunit vaccines. Lymphatic filariasis parasites are multicellular organisms and potentially use multiple mechanisms to survive in the host. Therefore, there is a need to combine two or more vaccine candidate antigens to achieve the desired effect. In this study we combined three well characterized vaccine antigens of Brugia malayi, heat shock protein 12.6 (HSP12.6), Abundant Larval transcript-2 (ALT-2) and tetraspanin large extra cellular loop (TSP-LEL) as a multivalent fusion vaccine. Putative immune individuals carry circulating antibodies against all three antigens. Depletion of these antigen specific antibodies from the sera samples removed the ability of the sera to participate in the killing of B. malayi L3 in an antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) mechanism. Vaccination trials in mice with a bivalent [HSP12.6+ALT-2 (HA), HSP12.6+TSP-LEL (HT) or TSP-LEL+ALT-2 (TA)] or trivalent [HSP12.6+ALT-2+TSP-LEL (HAT)] vaccines using DNA, protein or heterologous prime boost regimen showed that trivalent HAT vaccine either as protein alone or as heterologous prime boost vaccine could confer significant protection (95%) against B. malayi L3 challenge. Immune correlates of protection suggest a Th1/Th2 bias. These finding suggests that the trivalent HAT fusion protein is a promising prophylactic vaccine against lymphatic filariasis infection in human.
Project description:Lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil-transmitted-helminths (STH) are co-endemic in 58 countries which are mostly in Africa and Asia. Worldwide, 486 million school-age children are considered at risk of both diseases. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the global programme to eliminate LF by 2020. Since then, the LF elimination programme has distributed ivermectin or diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) in combination with albendazole, thereby also treating STH. Consequently, many school-age children have been treated for STH through the LF programme. As treatment targets towards the 2020 LF elimination goal are achieved, many countries are implementing the transmission assessment survey (TAS) and, if the LF prevalence is estimated to be less than 1%, scaling down mass drug administration (MDA). We analysed the 2014 data on preventive chemotherapy (PC) reported from LF STH co-endemic countries and projected the year and location of TAS expected to be conducted between 2016 and 2020 to assess the impact of this scaling down on STH PC. Eighty percent of all co-endemic countries that have already stopped LF MDA nationally were able to establish STH PC through schools. It is estimated that 14% of the total number of children presently covered by the LF programme is at risk of not continuing to receive PC for STH. In order to achieve and maintain the WHO 2020 goal for STH control, there is an urgent need to establish and reinforce school-based deworming programmes in countries scaling-down national LF elimination programmes.
Project description:Lymphatic filariasis is caused by three closely related nematode parasites: Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. These species have many ecological variants that differ in several aspects of their biology such as mosquito vector species, host range, periodicity, and morphology. Although the genome of B. malayi (the first genome sequenced from a parasitic nematode) has been available for more than five years, very little is known about genetic variability among the lymphatic dwelling filariae. The genetic diversity among these worms is not only interesting from a biological perspective, but it may have important practical implications for the Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, as the parasites may respond differently to diagnostic tests and/or medical interventions. Therefore, better information on their genetic variability is urgently needed. With improved methods for nucleic acid extraction and recent advances in sequencing chemistry and instrumentation, this gap can be filled relatively inexpensively. Improved information on filarial genetic diversity may increase the chances of success for lymphatic filariasis elimination programs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, launched following World Health Assembly Resolution 50.29 (WHA 50.29), has been facilitated in its progress by new research findings, drug donations, the availability of diagnostic tools, disability management strategies to help those already suffering and the development of partnerships. The strategy recommended by the World Health Organization of annual treatment with a two-drug combination has proved safe. DISCUSSION: Using different approaches in several countries the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) has been demonstrated to be feasible during earlier decades. These successes have been largely overlooked. However, the programme progress since 2000 has been remarkable - upscaling rapidly from 2 million treatments in 2000 to approximately 60 million in 2002. Around 34 countries had active programmes at the end of 2002. It is anticipated that there will be further expansion - but this will be dependent on additional resources becoming available. The programme also provides significant opportunities for other disease control programmes to deliver public health benefits on a large scale. Few public health programmes have upscaled so rapidly and so cost-effectively (<$0.03/treatment in some Asian settings) - one country treating 9-10 million people in a day (Sri Lanka). The LF programme is arguably the most effective pro-poor public health programme currently operating which is based on country commitment and partnerships supported by a global programme and alliance. Tables are provided to summarize programme characteristics, the benefits of LF elimination, opportunities for integration with other programmes and relevance to the Millennium Development Goals. SUMMARY: Lymphatic filariasis elimination is an "easy-to-do" inexpensive health intervention that provides considerable "beyond filariasis" benefits, exemplifies partnership and is easily evaluated. The success in global health action documented in this paper requires and deserves further support to bring to fruition elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem and health benefits to poor people. A future free of lymphatic filariasis will reduce poverty and bring better health to poor people, prevent disability, strengthen health systems and build partnerships.