Perception of social stigma among patients attending a filariasis morbidity control clinic in South India

Parthasarathi Ramanathan, Ram Prabhakar, Velmurugan Anbu Ananthan


Background: The psychological and social stigma associated with lymphatic filariasis can adversely affect productivity and quality of life. This study was carried out to assess the perception of social stigma among patients with lymphatic filariasis.

Methods: A hospital based cross sectional study was done on 30 subjects with lymphatic filariasis who attended a filariasis morbidity control clinic in Tamil Nadu. Data was collected using a locally adopted, pilot tested interviewer administered questionnaire derived from explanatory model interview catalogue community stigma scale (EMIC-CSS).  Patients were categorized into none, mild, moderate and severe levels of social stigma based on their responses for questions related to stigma assessment. Data was analyzed using Epi-Info. Quantitative variables were presented as mean with standard deviation. Qualitative variables were presented as frequency with proportion.

Results: Majority of the study subjects were males (60%), Hindu by religion (73.3%) and belonged to nuclear family (73.3%). The mean age (±SD) was 47 (±10.9) years. 66.7% of subjects were aged between 46-50 years. Majority (60%) of subjects had mild stigma. 13% had moderate while 3% had severe stigma. 23% of subjects had no stigma.

Conclusions: 87% of this study subjects had perceived the social stigma towards lymphatic filariasis. Hence, apart from prevention and treatment measures for filariasis, importance has to be given in context of reducing social stigma towards the disease.


Lymphatic filariasis, Social stigma, Perception, Discrimination, South India, EMIC-CSS

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