A patient of lymphatic filariasis (Photo: alamy.com)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – The World Health Orgnisation (WHO) on October 11 granted a decision to Cambodia recognising that the country had eliminated lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, as a public health problem. 

Cambodian Health Minister Mom Bunheng said the recognition is the pride of Cambodian people and the result of efforts made by the local health sector to fight diseases and improve public health. 

Lymphatic filariasis is a mosquito-borne disease affecting populations in tropical countries. The disease is caused when filarial worms, transmitted to humans through mosquito bites, damage the body's lymphatic system, leading to severe disfigurement, pain, disability and recurrent acute attacks. The damage to the lymphatic system results in swelling and disfigurement of arms, legs or other body parts, resulting in a condition called elephantiasis. These disfigurements, and the stigma associated with them, often cause patients to lose their livelihoods and become psychologically affected. 

The disease has been found in Cambodia’s northeastern region which borders Vietnam’s Central Highlands.-VNA