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Parasit Vectors. 2011 Jul 15;4:134. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-4-134.

The impact of mass drug administration and long-lasting insecticidal net distribution on Wuchereria bancrofti infection in humans and mosquitoes: an observational study in northern Uganda.

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Malaria Consortium Africa, Kampala, Uganda.



Lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Uganda is caused by Wuchereria bancrofti and transmitted by anopheline mosquitoes. The mainstay of elimination has been annual mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin and albendazole, targeted to endemic districts, but has been sporadic and incomplete in coverage. Vector control could potentially contribute to reducing W. bancrofti transmission, speeding up progress towards elimination. To establish whether the use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) can contribute towards reducing transmission of W. bancrofti in a setting with ongoing MDA, a study was conducted in an area of Uganda highly endemic for both LF and malaria. Baseline parasitological and entomological assessments were conducted in 2007, followed by high-coverage LLIN distribution. Net use and entomological surveys were carried out after one year, and final parasitological and entomological evaluations were conducted in 2010. Three rounds of MDA had taken place before the study commenced, with a further three rounds completed during the course of the study.


In 2007, rapid mapping indicated 22.3% of schoolchildren were W. bancrofti antigen positive, and a baseline survey during the same year found age-adjusted microfilaraemia prevalence was 3.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.6-5.3%). In 2010, age-adjusted microfilaraemia prevalence had fallen to 0.4%, while antigenaemia rates were 0.2% in children < 5 years and 6.0% in ≥ 5 years. In 2010, universal coverage of mosquito nets in a household was found to be protective against W. bancrofti antigen (odds ratio = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.22-0.89). Prevalence of W. bancrofti larvae in anopheline mosquitoes had decreased significantly between the 2007 and 2010 surveys, but there was an apparent increase in vector densities.


A marked reduction in W. bancrofti infection and infectivity in humans was observed in the study area, where both MDA and LLINs were used to reduce transmission. The extent to which LLINs contributed to this decline is equivocal, however. Further work investigating the impact of vector control on anopheline-transmitted LF in an endemic area not benefitting from MDA would be valuable to determine the effect of such interventions on their own.

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