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Open Access Review

Diversity and transmission competence in lymphatic filariasis vectors in West Africa, and the implications for accelerated elimination of Anopheles-transmitted filariasis

Dziedzom K de Souza1, Benjamin Koudou2, Louise A Kelly-Hope2, Michael D Wilson1, Moses J Bockarie2 and Daniel A Boakye1*

Author Affiliations

1 Parasitology Department, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon-Accra, Ghana

2 Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:259  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-259

Published: 14 November 2012

Abstract

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is targeted for elimination by the Global Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF). The strategy adopted is based on the density dependent phenomenon of Facilitation, which hypothesizes that in an area where the vector species transmitting Wuchereria bancrofti are Anopheles mosquitoes, it is feasible to eliminate LF using Mass Drug Administration (MDA) because of the inability of Anopheles species to transmit low-density microfilaraemia. Even though earlier studies have shown Anopheles species can exhibit the process of Facilitation in West Africa, observations point towards the process of Limitation in certain areas, in which case vector control is recommended. Studies on Anopheles species in West Africa have also shown genetic differentiation, cryptic taxa and speciation, insecticide resistance and the existence of molecular and chromosomal forms, all of which could influence the vectorial capacity of the mosquitoes and ultimately the elimination goal. This paper outlines the uniqueness of LF vectors in West Africa and the challenges it poses to the 2020 elimination goal, based on the current MDA strategies.

Keywords:
Lymphatic Filariasis; Anopheles vectors; Vector-Parasite interactions; West Africa