What Is Needed to Eradicate Lymphatic Filariasis? A Model-Based Assessment on the Impact of Scaling Up Mass Drug Administration Programs

Randee J. Kastner, Christopher M. Stone, Peter Steinmann, Marcel Tanner, Fabrizio Tediosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a neglected tropical disease for which more than a billion people in 73 countries are thought to be at-risk. At a global level, the efforts against LF are designed as an elimination program. However, current efforts appear to aim for elimination in some but not all endemic areas. With the 2020 goal of elimination looming, we set out to develop plausible scale-up scenarios to reach global elimination and eradication. We predict the duration of mass drug administration (MDA) necessary to reach local elimination for a variety of transmission archetypes using an existing model of LF transmission, estimate the number of treatments required for each scenario, and consider implications of rapid scale-up. Methodology: We have defined four scenarios that differ in their geographic coverage and rate of scale-up. For each scenario, country-specific simulations and calculations were performed that took into account the pre-intervention transmission intensity, the different vector genera, drug regimen, achieved level of population coverage, previous progress toward elimination, and potential programmatic delays due to mapping, operations, and administration. Principal Findings: Our results indicate that eliminating LF by 2020 is unlikely. If MDA programs are drastically scaled up and expanded, the final round of MDA for LF eradication could be delivered in 2028 after 4,159 million treatments. However, if the current rate of scale-up is maintained, the final round of MDA to eradicate LF may not occur until 2050. Conclusions/Significance: Rapid scale-up of MDA will decrease the amount of time and treatments required to reach LF eradication. It may also propel the program towards success, as the risk of failure is likely to increase with extended program duration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0004147
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 9 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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