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Lymphatic filariasis in the Caribbean region: the opportunity for its elimination and certification.

  • Rawlins, S C
  • Lammie, P
  • Tiwari, T
  • Pons, P
  • Chadee, D D
  • Oostburg, B F
  • Baboolal, S
Published Article
Revista panamericana de salud pública = Pan American journal of public health
Publication Date
May 01, 2000
PMID: 10893972


In order to support the case for a certification of elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in some Caribbean countries, we compared the prevalence of circulating Wuchereria bancrofti antigen in communities in Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad. For the study, we assayed school children in six communities in Guyana, five communities in Suriname, and three communities in Trinidad for the prevalence of circulating W. bancrofti antigen, using a new immunochromatographic test for LF. We also assayed adults in these three countries, with a special focus on Blanchisseuse, Trinidad, where mass treatment for LF elimination had been carried out in 1981. The prevalences of W. bancrofti circulating antigen found in the school children populations ranged from 1.7% to 33.2% in Guyana and were 0.22% overall in Suriname and 0.0% in Trinidad. Among adults in two Guyana communities the prevalences were 16.7% and 32.1%. The results were all negative from 211 adults in communities in the north, center, and south of Trinidad, as well as from 29 adults in Suriname. The data suggest that contrary to reports of LF endemicity from the World Health Organization, LF may no longer be present in Trinidad and may be of very low prevalence in Suriname. Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean nations proven negative could seek to be awarded a certificate of LF elimination. In Suriname the small localized pocket of infected persons who may serve as a reservoir of LF infection could be tested and appropriately treated to achieve LF elimination. Such LF-positive countries as Guyana should access new international resources being made available for LF elimination efforts. An adequate certification program would help identify which countries should seek the new LF elimination resources.

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