Water

Lymphatic Filariasis – An Overview

Lymphatic filariasis

is also called as elephantiasis. This disease spreads via mosquito bites. These mosquitoes breed in water and act as vectors for the filariae worm. This disease is a profoundly disfiguring and painful ailment. The lymphatic filariasis infection is usually acquired in the childhood, although it manifests at a later stage, which causes either a temporary or permanent impairment. This disease has a major economic and social impact in endemic countries of the world. Read on to know more about lymphatic filariasis.

The infection is primarily caused by 3 species of filariae, which are thin nematode worms – Brugia timori, Brugia malayi and Wuchereia bancrofti. The female worms are 8-10 centimeters in length and the male worms are 3-4 centimeters. Both the male and female worms form ‘nests’ in the lymphatic system of the humans. The lymphatic system consist network of vessels and nodes which maintains the fluid balance between body tissues and blood. Also, this system is an integral part of the immune system of the body.

An Overview of Lymphatic Filariasis

This infection can cause various forms of clinical manifestations. These include:

  • Recurrent acute attacks along with fever and excruciating pain
  • Genital diseases like chylocele, hydrocele, and even swelling of the penis and scrotum
  • Lymphoedema of limbs

Most of the infected persons are asymptomatic, although many of them have subclinical lymphatic damage. Also, nearly 40% of the infected patients have kidney damage, with haematuria and proteinuria.

Spreading of Lymphatic Filariasis

The disease spreads from one person to another via mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites a person infected with lymphatic filariasis, worms present in the infected person’s blood enter the mosquito. When this infected mosquito bites another person, he/she get the infection.

The infecting worms penetrate the skin and travel through the lymph vessels where they mature into adults. An adult worm can survive for 5-7 years. These adults mate and release many worms, which are called microfilariae. These are released into the blood. Hence, this is how the infection of lymphatic filariasis is spread from one person to another.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *