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factsheet LF is the second major cause of disability worldwide More than a billion people worldwide live in areas where they are at risk of infection from LF parasites

Lymphatic Filariasis Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms which are transmitted through mosquito bites. The worms lodge in the lymphatic system producing millions of immature larvae that circulate in the blood and cause severe swelling of the arms, legs and/ or genitalia. The physical, social and economic damage caused by LF is immense. Disability caused by LF means that many are unable to work or maintain physical relationships. The result is a loss of livelihood, self-esteem and marital breakdown. External symptoms can also mask more serious and irreversible damage to kidneys and lymphatic system.

120 million people are affected by LF worldwide, 40 million of these are already disabled by the disease As the inflammation progresses, it becomes more difficult for individuals to conduct routine household and job-related tasks; people may even experience exclusion from society as a result of stigma 10-15% of infected men suffer genital damage Women too suffer from stigma caused by the enlargement of the legs, arms and genitals. This can lead to difficulties in marriage which, in poor communities, is often the primary source of security for women LF can be prevented through the mass administration of preventative drugs. For success this needs to take place each year involving at least 80% of the population a massive undertaking.


factsheet BUT LYMPHATIC FILARIASIS CAN POTENTIALLY BE ELIMINATED! The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis has been launched by the World Health Organization, applying the primary strategy of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) to interrupt transmission within whole communities. This is a long-term commitment involving not only administration of preventative drugs on a mass scale but also the education and mobilisation of communities to receive treatment, repeated over several years. Although it is possible to cure the infection by killing the adult worms and circulating larvae, damage to the lymphatic system is irreversible. For those people already affected it is possible to manage the condition and prevent further disability by applying simple self-care techniques. LEPRA Health in Action 28 Middleborough Colchester CO1 1TG 01206 216700 www.leprahealthinaction.org Registered in England and Wales (No.213251), Scotland (No. SC039715)

HOW LEPRA HELPS PEOPLE WITH LF LEPRA’s LF programmes across the world include the following activities: Using innovative ways to spread health education messages to inform people of the availability of preventative treatment to stop the spread of LF Supporting the LF prevention campaign of the Bangladeshi government. Informing people about LF, and where to go for preventative treatment Disability prevention, training people affected by LF on self-care techniques to improve lymph flow, reduce swelling and avoid bacterial and fungal infections that exacerbate the condition At the same time control activities used in malaria prevention are also taught and used by communities to prevent LF

By supporting LEPRA you are helping us to prevent the spread of LF.


LF factsheet