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Full Text (41 pages, Word, PDF)

Opening Ceremony
Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) in the Americas: A General Overview
Absence vs. Certification of Eliminiation of LF
LF Elimination and the Global Initiative

Country Presentations

Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
Trinidad and Tobago

Key Issues
Treatment Regimens, Pilot Studies and the Chinese Experience
Albendazole in LF: Benefits of a Multi-Disease Approach and Issues Related to the Safety of Drug Combination
GlaxoSmithKline's Commitment
Success of Salt Flouridation in the Americas after a Decade
Key Issues
Morbidity Control Program
Building a Morbidity Control Program
Group Discussion of Morbidity Management
Other Key Issues
Role and Designation of a Regional Task Force
The Program Manager's Manual and the Regional Initiative
Assessing LF Endemicity: The Role of the ICT Test
The Status of LF in the Southern Caribbean: A Case for Certification of Elimination

Inter American Development Bank (IDB)
Health and Development International (HDI)
The International Centre
Ste. Croix Hospital
Notre Dame University
Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA)
Emory University
Amaury Cotinho
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Group Discussion
Next Steps: Where does the Regional Initiative want to go from here?
Wrap-up: Highlights of the Meeting

Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination in the Americas: Report

(First Regional Program Managers Meeting,
Dominican Republic, 9-11 August 2000)

Lymphatic filiariasis parasite

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disabling and disfiguring disease transmitted by a mosquito and caused by a filarial worm which affects over 120 million people in 80 countries. The majority of the cases are concentrated in and around urban and peri-urban dwellings. Acquired early in childhood, the chronic symptoms of the disease tend to afflict individuals in their most productive stage of life imposing a considerable social and economic burden. Significant economic burden to the individual and its family is one of the consequences of lymphatic-filariasis-induced disability and surgical treatment. It is estimated that the surgical treatment of hydrocoele and other manifestations of the disease cost millions of dollars each year.

In the Americas, 421,700 individuals are estimated to be infected with Wuchereria bancrofti, the only known agent of lymphatic filariasis in the Region. The actual number of cases might be higher if assessed by currently available and more sensitive techniques such as the antigen detection assay (ICT test). Since 1981, transmission has only been reported from Haiti, Guyana, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Suriname and the Dominican Republic. The estimated number of the population at risk in the Americas is 6,631,000 individuals and could increase due to migration from rural into urban areas.

The 50th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization passed a resolution in 1997 calling for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem by the year 2020. It has been identified as a disease that is potentially eradicable.

Tools to eliminate lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem in the Region are all available. The focalised nature of the infection and the relatively small number of cases in the Americas, suggest this goal could be met prior to the year 2020.

The Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is fully committed to promoting and supporting the elimination of lymphatic filariasis in the Americas. Together with WHO's Collaborating Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other key partners, PAHO/WHO hosted and co-sponsored the I. Regional Program Managers Meeting on the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis in the Americas. This event took place in the Dominican Republic between the 7 and 9th of August, 2000. Key issues related to the implementation of a Regional Program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in the Americas were discussed. Full details of the outcomes of this important meeting are provided in a comprehensive report.

Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
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