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What is Filaria?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 15, 2014
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Filariasis is an infection caused by parasite transmitted.
  • The infection is not life-threatening.
  • It can cause life-long damage to the lymph.
  • There are no symptoms in the initial stages.

More

What is Filariasis?

Filariasis is a disease caused by the parasite transmitted by blood-feeding arthropods, mainly black flies and mosquitoes.

Filariasis does not threaten your life but it can lead to a permanent damage to the lymphatic system. This infection shows up no symptoms in the initial stages thus, making people unaware of the disorder.

Understanding Filariasis

Cause of Filariasis

There are eight different thread-like nematodes that lead to filariasis. These include:

  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Subcutaneous filariasis
  • Serious cavity filariasis

When a healthy person is bitten by an infected mosquito, the larvae called microfilariae move in the lymphatics and lymph nodes. They then start developing into adult worms and may stay for many years.

Symptoms of Filariasis

In the initial stages of filariasis, there can be no symptoms seen. This happens because the problems start after the adult worms die. Thickening of the skin and underlying tissues is the most common symptom of elephantiasis. Parts like arms, vulva, breasts and scrotum can be affected by the infection.

Understanding Filariasis

Diagnosis of Filariasis

The most commonly used way to diagnose filariasis includes the following:

  • Direct demonstration of microfilariae in blood or skin specimens. The sample for blood is usually collected at night because microfilariae have nocturnal periodicity
  • Detection of antibodies by immunodiagnostic tests
  • Detection circulating filarial antigen

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Understand Filariasis.

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