Individual Efficacy and Community Impact of Ivermectin, Diethylcarbamazine, and Albendazole Mass Drug Administration for Lymphatic Filariasis Control in Fiji: A Cluster Randomized Trial.

15 Sep 2021
Hardy M, Samuela J, Kama M, Tuicakau M, Romani L, Whitfeld MJ, King CL, Weil GJ, Grobler AC, Robinson LJ, Kaldor JM, Steer AC

BACKGROUND

Bancroftian filariasis remains endemic in Fiji despite >10 years of mass drug administration (MDA) using diethylcarbamazine and albendazole (DA). The addition of ivermectin to this combination (IDA) has improved efficacy of microfilarial clearance at 12 months in individually randomized trials in nocturnal transmission settings, but impact in a setting of diurnally subperiodic filarial transmission has not been evaluated.

METHODS

This cluster randomized study compared the individual efficacy and community impact of IDA vs DA as MDA for lymphatic filariasis in 35 villages on 2 islands of Fiji. Participants were tested at enrollment for circulating filarial antigen and, if positive, for microfilariae. Weight-dosed treatment was offered according to village randomization. Communities were visited at 12 months and retested for lymphatic filariasis. Infected individuals from Rotuma were retested at 24 months.

RESULTS

A total of 3816 participants were enrolled and 3616 were treated. At 12 months, microfilariae clearance was achieved in 72 of 111 participants detected with infection at baseline, with no difference in efficacy between treatment groups: DA, 69.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 57.2%-79.1%) vs IDA, 62.5% (95% CI, 43.6%-78.2%); risk difference, 11.3 % (95% CI, -10% to 32.7%); P = .30. There was no difference between treatment groups in community prevalence of microfilariae at 12 months or individual clearance at 24 months.

CONCLUSIONS

We found no difference between IDA and DA in individual clearance or community prevalence of lymphatic filariasis at 12 months, and no improved efficacy following a second annual round of IDA. Possible explanations for the apparent lack of benefit of IDA compared to DA include drug and parasite factors affecting clearance, and higher than expected reinfection rates. Clinical Trials Registration: NCT03177993 and Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry: N12617000738325.