About the disease
Lymphatic filariasis (LF), also known as elephantiasis, is a common, painful, and profoundly disfiguring disease. Approximately 120 million people are infected with the parasite that causes LF. Currently, nearly 1.23 billion people in 58 of the poorest countries in the world are at risk of LF, with approximately 95% living in Africa and Southeast Asia. LF afflicts an estimated 25 million men with genital disease and more than 15 million people with lymphedema.
The disease is caused by three types of filarial worms that are transmitted through mosquitoes from person to person, and subsequently persist and replicate in the victim’s lymphatic system, resulting in a variety of complications as the system is compromised.
Finding and fighting LF
Currently, efforts led by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis and the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis are focused on eliminating the disease by 2020. Endemic countries are progressing toward that goal. Low-cost, point-of-care diagnostic technologies are required to support efforts to eliminate the disease and confirm that elimination has been achieved.
Learn more about PATH’s work on LF diagnostics:
News and media
Tala de los Santos, Global Program Leader, Diagnostics