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Lymphatic Filariasis – Signs and Symptoms

This is a mosquito-borne disease which is the main reason of long-term and permanent disability worldwide. These mosquitoes breed in water bodies. They act as vectors for the filariae worm.

Lymphatic filariasis

infects nearly 120 million people

worldwide and a

1.2 billion are at the risk of infection

. One of the severe form of the disease is elephantiasis, which is a crippling condition wherein the affected limbs are grotesquely enlarged or swollen. In communities where lymphatic filariasis is endemic, 10% of women may get affected with swollen limbs. 50% of men may suffer from a mutilating genital disease. The conditions have a devastating impact on the victim’s quality of life, which affects them not only physically, but also economically and emotionally. Read on to know more about the

signs and symptoms of lymphatic filariasis

.

Signs and Symptoms of Lymphatic Filariasis

Even though the parasite affects the lymph system, most afflicted patients are asymptomatic. They mostly never develop any clinical symptoms. A few patients may develop lymphedema, which occurs due to improper functioning of the human lymph system. This leads to fluid collection and swelling. The disease mainly affects the legs, although it may also affect the genitalia, breasts and arms. Many infected people manifest these symptoms years after being infected.

The lowered function of the lymph system and swelling reduces the body’s immune system capacity to fight infections and germs. The infected people are more prone to bacterial infections in the lymph system and skin. The disease leads to thickening and hardening of the skin, which is known as elephantiasis. With appropriate skin hygiene, most of the bacterial infections can be minimized.

After the death of an adult parasite, infected men may manifest hydrocele, which is swelling of the scrotum. This infection may also result pulmonary tropical eosinophilia disorder. But this disorder is mainly found in those infected people in Asia. The symptoms of the disorder include wheezing, shortness of breath and cough.

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