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Free Content Lymphatic filariasis in Ghana: establishing the potential for an urban cycle of transmission

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Lymphatic filariasis is a significant public health and economic problem in many tropical and sub-tropical regions. Unplanned urbanization leading to a lack of proper sanitary conditions has resulted in an increase in the urban-based transmission of a number of vector-borne diseases, including lymphatic filariasis. It has been well established that lymphatic filariasis is endemic in rural areas of Ghana. The goal of this study was to determine if there is a potential of establishing urban transmission cycles in Ghana's major cities. We clinically and immunologically assessed 625 individuals from the three major urban areas (Bawku, Bolgatanga and Secondi/Takoradi), finding that the prevalence of infection with Wuchereria bancrofti ranged from 0 to 12.5%. The results of a polymerase chain reaction based analysis of mosquitoes collected from these areas suggested that there is a low but detectable prevalence of mosquitoes infected with W. bancrofti. We conclude that there may be a potential for an established urban transmission of lymphatic filariasis in Ghana.

Keywords: Anopheles sp; Culex quinquefasciatus; Ghana; Wuchereria bancrofti; immunodiagnosis; lymphatic filariasis; mosquito; polymerase chain reaction; urban transmission

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, USA 2: Parasitology Unit, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana 3: Disease Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Accra, Ghana 4: Health Research Unit, Ministry of Health, Accra, Ghana 5: Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2005


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