28 Feb 2012

Elephantiasis eradication plan linked to American Samoa project

3:03 pm on 28 February 2012

Researchers from the University of Kentucky hope a new vector control they've developed will eliminate the species of mosquito that causes lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis.

The university captured so-called Polynesian tiger mosquitoes on Aunu'u Island in American Islands and took them to their lab in the US.

There, scientists developed a vector control which involved the mosquitoes being treated with a naturally occurring bacteria as a means of reducing their numbers.

The University is now awaiting clearance from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the American Samoa Government and leaders of Aunu'u before releasing the treated mosquitoes in Aunu'u.

Dr. Chike Anyaebunam says he hopes the project will lead to eradication of elephantiasis in American Samoa and the region.

"This is a global project to eliminate lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis as one of the neglected tropical diseases."

The project is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.