Wuchereria bancrofti infection and transmission: the Maupiti cohort
The impact of 34 years of massive DEC chemotherapy on
Semi-annual mass DEC chemotherapy combined with vector control at the beginning of the programme, has been administered on the remote island of Maupiti (French Polynesia) since 1955 (except two periods in 1960–67 and 1970–74). The results of two surveys in 1985 and 1989, reporting 0% microfilaraemia, led to the hope that the eradication of lymphatic filariasis had been achieved. We combined parasitological criteria (microfilaraemia by membrane filtration), immunological (antigenaemia and serum levels of specific IgG antibodies) and molecular (PCR-based evaluation of infection in mosquitoes) techniques and found only good control of the parasite: We found residual microfilaraemia in 0.4% of the sample (mean level in carriers: 101.2 mf/ml), antigenaemia in 4.6% (mean level in positive persons: 714.4 units/ml) and specific IgG in 21.6% (including in one very young child). In addition, an infection rate of 1.4% was calculated in the Aedes polynesiensis vector population. These data, obtained in 1997 just before a hurricane, were partially confirmed in 1999 (0.1% of infection rate in the vector). Together with the possibility of some resistance to DEC, various epidemiological factors critical for the eradication of lymphatic filariasis are discussed.