20 Oct 2016

Filariasis eliminated in three Pacific nations

From , 4:03 pm on 20 October 2016

Vanuatu's director of public health says the elimination of filariasis in the country is the result of a 15-year strategy between international agencies, governments, NGOs and the private sector.

The WHO recently announced the mosquito-borne illness is no longer a public health problem for Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Niue and Cambodia.

The debilitating illness is caused by parasitic worms that attack the lymphatic system and can result in elephantiasis, or 'big leg' as it's know in bislama.

Len Tarivonda says it is being kept at bay in Vanuatu but they're not being complacent about its return, with chronic sufferers being monitored to avoid further infection.

Mr Tarivonda spoke with Dominic Godfrey about what led to the successful elimination.

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Photo: AFP