A community-based trial for the control of lymphatic filariasis and iodine deficiency using salt fortified with diethylcarbamazine and iodine.

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  • 1 Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.

To evaluate the effectiveness of salt fortified with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and iodine for elimination of Bancroftian filariasis and iodine deficiency, all consenting residents of Miton, Haiti (n = 1,932) were given salt fortified with 0.25% diethylcarbamazine and 25 ppm of iodine for one year. Wuchereria bancrofti microfilaria prevalence and intensity, antigenemia, and urinary iodine were measured before and one year after salt distribution began. To measure the effect of DEC-fortified salt on adult worm motility, 15 microfilaria-positive men were examined by ultrasound of the scrotal area. Entomologic surveys were conducted to determine the proportion of W. bancrofti-infected Culex quinquefasciatus. After one year of treatment, the prevalence and intensity of microfilaremia were both reduced by more than 95%, while antigenemia levels were reduced by 60%. The motility of adult worms, as detected by ultrasound, was decreased, but not significantly, by DEC-fortified salt. The proportion of vector mosquitoes carrying infective stage larvae decreased significantly from 2.3% in the nine months before the intervention to 0.2% in the last three-month follow-up period. Iodine deficiency, which had been moderate to severe, was eliminated after one year of iodized salt consumption. The DEC-fortified salt was well accepted by the community and reduced microfilaremia and transmission to low levels in the absence of reported side effects. Based on these results, salt cofortified with DEC and iodine should be considered as a concurrent intervention for lymphatic filariasis and iodine deficiency elimination programs.