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.6-M Pinoys infected with filariasis – DOH

To eliminate lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, the Department of Health (DOH) is now conducting a month-long mass drug administration to some .6 million Filipinos infected with the disease.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the program would be implemented in 38 endemic provinces across the country as mandated by Presidential Order No. 369 signed by President Arroyo.

Its signs and symptoms include fever, cough, chills, wheezing and pain and swelling in the arms, breast, scrotum, penis, vulva and legs.

"The only effective way to eliminate filariasis is through a once-a- year mass treatment, using combination drugs Diethylcarbamazine Citrate and Albendazole. This treatment would be given to all (infected) population aged two years and above for five consecutive years," Duque said.

The provinces most affected by the disease include Marinduque, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Palawan, and Romblon in MIMAROPA region; Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon in the Bicol region; Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Northern Leyte and Southern Leyte in Central Visayas; Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Sibugay Zamboanga in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The others are Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao; Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in Southern Mindanao; Saranggani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in SOCSKSARGEN; Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte in CARAGA; Sulu, Basilan and Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It usually affects people living in remote and endemic rural areas and is considered the second leading cause of permanent and long-term disability in the world.



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