Lymphatic filariasis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Kalsang Dolma, M.B.B.S.[2]

Epidemiology and Demographics

Geographic Distribution

Lymphatic filariasis affects over 120 million people in 80 countries throughout the tropics and sub-tropics of Asia, Africa, the Western Pacific, and parts of the Caribbean and South America. Approximately 66% of those at risk of infection live in the WHO South-East Asia Region and 33% in the African Region.

In the Americas, only four countries are currently known to be endemic: Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Brazil.

In the United States, Charleston, South Carolina, was the last known place with lymphatic filariasis. The infection disappeared early in the 20th century. Currently, you can not get infected in the U.S.

Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with nematodes of the family Filarioidea: 90% of infections are caused by Wuchereria bancrofti and most of the remainder by Brugia malayi.

Humans are the exclusive host of infection with W. bancrofti. Although certain strains of B. malayi can also infect some animal species (felines and monkeys), the life cycle in these animals generally remains epidemiologically distinct from that in humans.

The major vectors of W. bancrofti are mosquitoes of the genus Culex (in urban and semi-urban areas), Anopheles (in rural areas of Africa and elsewhere) and Aedes (in islands of the Pacific).

The parasites of B. malayi are transmitted by various species of the genus Mansonia; in some areas, anopheline mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting infection. Brugian parasites are confined to areas of east and south Asia, notably India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.


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