Several kinds of round, coiled, and thread-like parasitic worms belonging to the family filaria cause Filariasis. The parasites can enter the skin and into the bloodstream on their own or through the opening created by the mosquito's bites. Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is also known as elephantiasis.
What are the symptoms of filariasis?
Usually, the early stage of filariasis infection is asymptomatic, although the blood test shows positive microfilaria and this may last for months.
The symptoms during acute conditions are inflammation of the skin, lymph nodes, and lymphatic vessels.
The symptoms for chronic infection are: edema & skin thickening and even the underlying tissues thicken.
Usually, filariasis affects the lower extremities but the areas such as arms, vulva, breasts, and scrotum can be affected. The edema can also be caused in the breast or genital area.
What are the causes of filariasis?
The parasite called Wuchereria Bancrofti causes filariasis. Culex, Aedes, and Anopheles mosquitoes serve as a vector for transmission of the parasite.
Another parasite is known as Brugia Malawi also causes filariasis on transmission and is transmitted by vector Mansonia and Anopheles mosquitoes.
The larvae called microfilariae move into the lymph nodes and lymphatic system when an infected mosquito bites an individual.
How can filariasis be diagnosed?
Filariasis can be diagnosed by testing the blood sample and serological examination.
How to manage filariasis?
The affected limb should be elevated and regular exercises should be done for improving the lymph flow.
The medical treatment for filariasis is MDA (Mass Drug Administration) in that a single dose of two medications are given together like albendazole 400mg combined with ivermectin 150-200mcg/kg or diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) 6mg/kg. All these medications are to be taken under the doctor’s prescription and in severe cases under the doctor’s supervision. These medications tend to clear microfilariae from the bloodstream.