Is mass drug administration against lymphatic filariasis required in urban settings? The experience in Kano, Nigeria


The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF), launched in 2000, has the target of eliminating the disease as a public health problem by the year 2020. The strategy adopted is mass drug administration (MDA) to all eligible individuals in endemic communities. Success has been recorded in many rural endemic communities in which elimination efforts have centered. However, implementation has been challenging in several urban African cities. The large cities of West Africa, exemplified in Nigeria in Kano are challenging for LF elimination programme because reaching 65% therapeutic coverage during MDA is difficult. There is therefore a need to define a strategy which could complement MDA. In order to plan the LF control activities, this study was undertaken to confirm the LF infection prevalence in the human and mosquito populations in three urban LGAs. The results showed that none of the 981 subjects (constituted of <21% of children 5-10 years old) tested had detectable levels of CFA in their blood.

Despite detection of W. bancrofti DNA within mosquito specimens collected in three Kano urban LGAs, we were not able to find a subject with detectable level of CFA. Together with other evidence suggesting that LF transmission in urban areas in West Africa may not be of significant importance, the Federal Ministry of Health advised that two rounds of MDA be undertaken in the urban areas of Kano. It is recommended that the prevalence of W. bancrofti infection in the human and mosquito populations be re-assessed after a couple of years.

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Publication details
Date published
11 October 2017
Journal article