Lymphatic filariasis in India: epidemiology and control measures

J Postgrad Med. 2010 Jul-Sep;56(3):232-8. doi: 10.4103/0022-3859.68650.


Lymphatic filariasis caused by Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi is an important public health problem in India. Both parasites produce essentially similar clinical presentations in man, related mainly to the pathology of the lymphatic system. Filariasis is endemic in 17 States and six Union Territories, with about 553 million people at risk of infection. The Government of India has accorded a high priority for elimination of this infection through mass chemotherapy programme (annual, single dose of Diethylcarbamazine citrate, i.e. DEC - 6 mg/kg of bodyweight, plus Albendazole repeated four to six times). This campaign has become a part of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme in 2003 under the National Health Policy 2002 and aims to eliminate filariasis by 2015. We discuss here the epidemiology and current control strategy for filariasis; highlighting key issues, challenges and options in the implementation of the programme, and suggesting measures for mid-course corrections in the elimination strategy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brugia malayi / drug effects
  • Brugia malayi / isolation & purification*
  • Diethylcarbamazine / administration & dosage
  • Disease Vectors
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / epidemiology
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / parasitology
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / prevention & control*
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / transmission
  • Endemic Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Filaricides / administration & dosage
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Mosquito Control / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wuchereria bancrofti / drug effects
  • Wuchereria bancrofti / isolation & purification*


  • Filaricides
  • Diethylcarbamazine