The Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for the elimination of filariasis will be conducted in 11 districts, except Pathanamthitta, Wayanad and Idukki, from April 26 to 28, the Health Department has said.

MDA is a WHO-endorsed programme for eliminating filariasis, which involves the administration of one dose of DEC (Diethyl Carbamazine citrate) and Albendazole tablets every year to everyone in regions where filariasis is endemic.

India has a huge burden of filariasis, with at least 40 per cent of the global burden of the infection being reported from the country. Many districts in Kerala, especially Alappuzha, have always had a huge burden of the infection.

Lymphatic filariasis is a disease transmitted by Culex and Monsonia species of mosquitoes. Though it is not fatal, it can result in life-long morbidity. The causative organism, microfilaria, can lodge in a person's body for a long time before the symptoms actually manifest as elephantiasis of the limbs.

The MDA, for over a consecutive period of five years with sufficient drug ‘coverage,' ensures a break in the transmission cycle of the parasite. The programme aims at eliminating filariasis by 2015.

DEC and Albendazole are common drugs which have been in use for years for many illnesses like eosinophilia and for de-worming and are safe drugs, an official release said. Health workers and trained volunteers will make house-visits and distribute DEC tablets.

A State-level coordination meeting of various departments and agencies involved in the programme has been called on Friday.