ALAPPUZHA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has initiated steps for declaring Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Thrissur as lymphatic filariasis- free districts. As part of it, the state Health Department, in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), will begin a transmission assessment survey (TAS) to confirm that the districts are free from the presence of filariasis.
Filariasis had been once endemic in as many as 11 districts, except Wayanad, Idukki and Pathanamthitta. Following this, the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) was started in these districts in 2006. The programme was conducted once in a month every year in the state.However, the MDA was stopped in Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Thrissur in 2013 after adult filarial worms, which cause filariais, were not found in the people of these districts. Following this, the state government approached the WHO for declaring the five districts as free from filariasis.
However, the people of other six districts still are under the threat of filariasis as they failed to execute the programme effectively.
District malaria officer R Rajesh said the WHO has instructed the Health Department to conduct TAS in 2015 to confirm that filarial worms have been completely eradicated from these districts. The TAS will be conducted among schoolchildren, who were born between 2006-2011 during the MDA programme.