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The significant scale up and success of Transmission Assessment Surveys 'TAS' for endgame surveillance of lymphatic filariasis in Bangladesh: One step closer to the elimination goal of 2020.

Shamsuzzaman, A K M, Haq, Rouseli, Karim, Mohammad J, Azad, Motasim B, Mahmood, A S M Sultan, Khair, Abul, Rahman, Mujibur, Hafiz, Israt, Ramaiah, K D, Mackenzie, Charles, Mableson, Hayley and Kelly-Hope, Louise ORCID: (2017) 'The significant scale up and success of Transmission Assessment Surveys 'TAS' for endgame surveillance of lymphatic filariasis in Bangladesh: One step closer to the elimination goal of 2020.'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 11, Issue 1, e0005340.

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Bangladesh had one of the highest burdens of lymphatic filariasis (LF) at the start of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) with an estimated 70 million people at risk of infection across 34 districts. In total 19 districts required mass drug administration (MDA) to interrupt transmission, and 15 districts were considered low endemic. Since 2001, the National LF Programme has implemented MDA, reduced prevalence, and been able to scale up the WHO standard Transmission Assessment Survey (TAS) across all endemic districts as part of its endgame surveillance strategy. This paper presents TAS results, highlighting the momentous geographical reduction in risk of LF and its contribution to the global elimination target of 2020.

Methodology/Principal findings

The TAS assessed primary school children for the presence of LF antigenaemia in each district (known as an evaluation unit—EU), using a defined critical cut-off threshold (or ‘pass’) that indicates interruption of transmission. Since 2011, a total of 59 TAS have been conducted in 26 EUs across the 19 endemic MDA districts (99,148 students tested from 1,801 schools), and 22 TAS in the 15 low endemic non-MDA districts (36,932 students tested from 663 schools). All endemic MDA districts passed TAS, except in Rangpur which required two further rounds of MDA. In total 112 students (male n = 59; female n = 53), predominately from the northern region of the country were found to be antigenaemia positive, indicating a recent or current infection. However, the distribution was geographically sparse, with only two small focal areas showing potential evidence of persistent transmission.


This is the largest scale up of TAS surveillance activities reported in any of the 73 LF endemic countries in the world. Bangladesh is now considered to have very low or no risk of LF infection after 15 years of programmatic activities, and is on track to meet elimination targets. However, it will be essential that the LF Programme continues to develop and maintain a comprehensive surveillance strategy that is integrated into the health infrastructure and ongoing programmes to ensure cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 108 Preventive health services. Preventive medicine. Travel Medicine.
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 880 Filariasis and related conditions (General)
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2017 14:36
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 10:55


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