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Keywords:

  • human migration;
  • mass drug administration;
  • lymphatic filariasis

Summary

Annual 2-drug, single-dose mass drug administration (MDA) to 80–90% of the eligible population for 4–6 years are pre-requisites for the successful elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) from endemic communities by interruption of transmission and eventual elimination of new infections. In an experimental intervention project on the control of LF in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu state, India, migration patterns of the villagers were investigated to determine the appropriate timing to implement MDA in order to attain high coverage in a village-level study. Between January and December 1997, 16 observations took place at 3-week intervals, following MDA with two drugs viz., diethylcarbamazine and ivermectin, in July–August 1996. The migrants from the village constituted 17–27% at different points of time and both short-term and long-term migrating patterns were observed. More villagers were available during the agricultural season (September–January), peaking around mid-January [83%; significantly higher (P < 0.05)] than during most of the remaining months, including a substantial portion of the migrant population. There is an urgent need to reschedule the yearly MDA in this area to take place in January and to plan mopping up operations by involving local self-help groups to include migrants (both short-term and long-term) in the LF elimination efforts.