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Lymphatic filariasis in the Democratic Republic of Congo; micro-stratification overlap mapping (MOM) as a prerequisite for control and surveillance

Louise A Kelly-Hope*, Brent C Thomas, Moses J Bockarie and David H Molyneux

Author Affiliations

Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:178  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-178

Published: 18 September 2011



The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a significant burden of lymphatic filariasis (LF) caused by the parasite Wuchereria bancrofti. A major impediment to the expansion of the LF elimination programme is the risk of serious adverse events (SAEs) associated with the use of ivermectin in areas co-endemic for onchocerciasis and loiasis. It is important to analyse these and other factors, such as soil transmitted helminths (STH) and malaria co-endemicity, which will impact on LF elimination.


We analysed maps of onchocerciasis community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTi) from the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC); maps of predicted prevalence of Loa loa; planned STH control maps of albendazole (and mebendazole) from the Global Atlas of Helminth Infections (GAHI); and bed nets and insecticide treated nets (ITNs) distribution from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) as well as published historic data which were incorporated into overlay maps. We developed an approach we designate as micro-stratification overlap mapping (MOM) to identify areas that will assist the implementation of LF elimination in the DRC. The historic data on LF was found through an extensive review of the literature as no recently published information was available.


This paper identifies an approach that takes account of the various factors that will influence not only country strategies, but suggests that country plans will require a finer resolution mapping than usual, before implementation of LF activities can be efficiently deployed. This is because 1) distribution of ivermectin through APOC projects will already have had an impact of LF intensity and prevalence 2) DRC has been up scaling bed net distribution which will impact over time on transmission of W. bancrofti and 3) recently available predictive maps of L. loa allow higher risk areas to be identified, which allow LF implementation to be initiated with reduced risk where L. loa is considered non-endemic. We believe that using the proposed MOM approach is essential for planning the expanded distribution of drugs for LF programmes in countries co-endemic for filarial infections.