USAID is pleased to congratulate the Lao People’s Democratic Republic for eliminating the disease lymphatic filariasis (LF). The World Health Organization (WHO) today announced the successful elimination of LF, a painful and disabling neglected tropical disease, as a public health problem.

LF is a parasitic, mosquito-borne disease transmitted to humans and endemic in 72 countries. Long term, the disease can damage a person’s lymphatic system and cause severe, disabling swelling of the extremities. People living with LF-related conditions often suffer mental, social, and financial losses, which contribute to stigma and poverty.

Elimination of LF is a notable public health achievement for Laos. After years of treatment with safe, effective medicines, surveys showed the level of this infectious disease no longer presents a significant public health concern. To demonstrate this, the Government of Laos gathered evidence, evaluated the quality of services for persons living with chronic LF, and submitted formal proof to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since 2011, USAID has supported Laos to eliminate two neglected tropical diseases (NTDs): LF and trachoma. In 2017, the Government of Laos successfully eliminated trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness, as a public health problem.

USAID is a global leader in elimination and control of five of the most common NTDs, having supported the delivery of 3.1 billion donated treatments to 1.6 billion people at risk of NTDs across more than 30 countries. With USAID support, 13 countries have eliminated one or more NTDs, and 391 million people now live in areas where treatments for lymphatic filariasis are no longer required.

Learn more about this important milestone.