WHO de­clares Tonga free from lym­phatic fi­lar­i­a­sis

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Who News -

The King­dom of Tonga in the Pa­cific Ocean may be small in pop­u­la­tion, but it is kick­ing big goals in pub­lic health. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) has val­i­dated that the coun­try has elim­i­nated lym­phatic fi­lar­i­a­sis — also known as ele­phan­ti­a­sis — as a pub­lic health prob­lem. Lym­phatic fi­lar­i­a­sis is a mos­quito-borne dis­ease that dam­ages the lym­phatic sys­tem, lead­ing to se­vere dis­fig­ure­ment, pain and dis­abil­ity. Tonga joins seven other coun­tries in WHO’s West­ern Pa­cific Re­gion that have been val­i­dated as hav­ing achieved elim­i­na­tion of lym­phatic fi­lar­i­a­sis as a pub­lic health prob­lem since WHO launched the Global Pro­gramme to Elim­i­nate Lym­phatic Fi­lar­i­a­sis in 2000. It in­cludes Cam­bo­dia, China, Cook Is­lands, Niue, the Mar­shall Is­lands, the Republic of Korea and Van­u­atu. Lym­phatic fi­lar­i­a­sis is clas­si­fied by WHO as a ne­glected trop­i­cal dis­ease (NTD). This means it is one of a di­verse group of com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases that thrive mainly among the poor­est pop­u­la­tions in trop­i­cal and sub­trop­i­cal ar­eas. NTDs cause se­ri­ous ill­ness and in some cases death, but they are pre­ventable.

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