Eastern Visayas Embarks on Anti-Filariasis Vaccination Initiative

Four provinces in Region 8 in Eastern Visayas, in the central Philippines, are currently implementing Mass Drug Administration for Lymphatic Filariasis, an infectious tropical disease transmitted by roundworms that causes skin rashes, arthritis, blindness and elephantiasis. Officials hope to have the provinces declared filariasis-free by the Department of Health.

Two of the four provinces have already been declared filariasis-free. These are Southern Leyte and Biliran, which was the latest to receive the declaration. The Department of Health is now focusing on North Leyte, which will enter the third evaluation phase early in 2011.

The Department of Health is aiming to immunise 95% of the population aged 2 and older. 85% of this population must take the combination drug in order to obtain the synergetic effect.

The Department of Health is asking the public to take an annual dose of filariasis medication for five consecutive years. To support the initiative, the Department has asked LGU to assist with medicinal side effects, including allergies and stomach pain.

The initiative is part of the Department of Health's National Filariasis Elimination Program. It is also an execution of Executive Order No. 369, which declares the month of November a period of mass filariasis treatment in established endemic areas every year.