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PIA Press Release
2010/06/04

Aklan found moderately endemic for lymphatic filariasis

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (4 June) -- The province of Aklan has been declared as moderately endemic for Lymphatic Filariasis, with a Microfilaria Rate of 6.2%, according to Governor Carlito S. Marquez.

With this rate, Governor Marquez said Aklan is a candidate for Mass Drug Immunization (MDA). World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines state that a Microfilaria Rate of 1% and above requires a province to avail of the MDA.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms that live in the human lymph system, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH further revealed that LF is a disease of the poor which may be acquired during childhood. Parasites live in the lymphatics for 5-15 years.

A person gets filariasis through bites of infected female mosquito. The Aedes poecilus,, primary vector, lives in the leaf axils of abaca, banana, pandanus, pakil, gabi and other axilled plants. It is a primary nocturnal feeder but can be "diurnal" inside abaca plantations under low temperature and high humidity.

The mosquito's peak biting time is between 10 p.m. to 12 midnight. It rests indoors inside houses briefly after biting; and rests outdoors on the bases of trunks of abaca and other axilled plants.

In its chronic stage, filariasis develops 5-15 years after the death of adult filarial parasites. Effects of filariasis include hydrocoele, lymphedema, elephantiasis and chyluria.

Elephantiasis is evident with the swelling of lower extremities, scrotum in males (hydrocoele) upper extremities, and breasts. The disease is usually not life threatening, but it can permanently damage the lymph system and kidneys. Because the lymph system does not work,right, fluid collects and causes swelling in the arms, breasts and legs.

In Aklan, municipalities with filariasis cases are Libacao and Madalag, the province's major producer of abaca.

Marissa Carillo, PHO-Aklan's point person on filariasis, revealed that of Libacao's 500 residents tested for infection, 46 were found positive through their blood samples, while Madalag had 15 out of 500 samples.

Carillo said the treatment, which will be given for free to all Aklan residents aging 2 years and above, will be provided in time with the observation of Garantisadong Pambata (GP) October of this year.

To prepare Aklanons and health workers for the conduct of the MDA, the provincial government through the PHO, in partnership with the DOH, has set meetings and trainings for stakeholders and health workers, most of which will be held this month of June. (PIA) [top]

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