The Scale of the Problem

Where is the disease found?

Lymphatic filariasis occurs in at least 73 countries. It is most common in India and Africa, but occurs elsewhere in Asia, the Pacific and the Americas as well.

How many people are infected?

At least 1 billion individuals – 1 out of every 5 people alive – are at risk of developing lymphatic filariasis.

What is the true cost of the disease?

  • Permanent long-term disability (lymphatic filariasis is the world’s second leading cause)
  • Social loss (lost or broken marriages, lost parenthood opportunities)
  • Personal shame and injury (mental and physical)
  • Lost/diminished economic productivity
  • Sheer scale of treatment costs (that can bankrupt health services in resource-poor developing countries where the disease is often at its worst)
  • Actual financial costs are difficult to calculate but are huge. Costs in India alone are estimated to be in excess of $1.5 billion annually.