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Lymphatic Filariasis Remains Endemic in 31 African Countries

Lymphatic filariasis is one of the world’s leading causes of permanent and long-term disability. Sometimes referred to as Elephantiasis tropica, it is a neglected and stigmatised mosquito-borne disease. It damages the human lymphatic system, leading to disfiguring swelling of limbs, breasts and genitals. Despite a decade of World Health Organisation (WHO)-led drug administration to halt its spread, the disease is endemic in 72 countries, puts about 1.4 billion at risk and affects about 120 million people. People are primarily infected with the disease through mosquito bites. In Africa, the Anopheles mosquito is the main vector. The female Anopheles mosquito transmits microscopic filarial parasitic worms (Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia timori and Brugia malayi) from one person to another during its feeding process.