Organizers of a 20-year global effort to eliminate a parasitic infection that is a leading cause of disability have an early victory to savor: a five-year Egyptian elimination campaign has mostly succeeded, according to a new report in the March 25 issue of The Lancet. Infection with the parasites, threadlike filarial worms, can lead to the dramatic, disfiguring swelling known as elephantiasis.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Ain Shams University in Egypt found that after five years of annual mass treatments with two drugs, rates of filarial infection sharply declined in Egypt.
"The parasites transmission efficiency is low, so the thinking is that once we get human infection rates below a critical level, remaining infections will die out without further intervention," says senior author Gary Weil, M.D., professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at Washington University. "Our assessments suggest that the Egyptian campaign to eliminate these infections, which was implemented by the Egyptian Ministry of Population and Health, has achieved its goals in most areas of the country."
Michael Purdy | EurekAlert!
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