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Diethylcarbamazine (DEC)-medicated salt for community-based control of lymphatic filariasis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Julia Critchley


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High population coverage of DEC-medicated salt maintained over at least six months in a community is effective at reducing transmission of lymphatic filariasis and can, if maintained over a long enough period, completely interrupt transmissionFilariasis is a parasite infection of threadlike worms, affecting about 120 million people in more than 83 countries. The infection is transmitted by mosquitoes. Larval forms take up to a year to develop into adult worms, which mate and release thousands of microfilariae (mf) into the blood over the course of their lives. Mf are ingested by mosquitoes from the blood of an infected individual, completing the cycle. This infection may lead to severe disability in the form of lymphoedema and eventually elephantiasis of limbs, and hydrocoele. Though most infected people remain asymptomatic, the lymph vessels are often damaged. A drug, diethylcarbamazine (DEC) has been shown to kill mf, but repeated doses are needed before adult worms are killed or sterilized. This review looked at the effectiveness of giving entire communities DEC-medicated salt. The review of studies found evidence that DEC when given in a low dose over a period of months or years is effective in reducing the prevalence of filariasis in communities, with no recognized adverse events.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Adinarayanan S, Critchley J, Das PK, Gelband H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Year: 2007

Issue: 1

Pages: CD003758

ISSN (print): 1469-493X

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003758.pub2


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