This article only offers general advice and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Always consider a professional health care opinion.
Filariasis is a tropical disease that affects more than 120 million people worldwide. It is a disease caused by mosquitoes, and it infects your body through tiny filarial worms.
Where does it occur?
Filariasis is an endemic that has spread to approximately 81 countries across the world, mainly in countries like India and Africa. Other areas include America, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands with migration connections to Australia.
This map should not be used for navigation or legal purposes. It is intended for general reference use only.
Image source: "Lymphatic Filariasis Endemic Countries and Territories." Lymphatic Filariasis Disease. May 2006. The Carter Center. 13 May 2006. http://www.cartercenter.org/healthprograms/program5.htm
What are the filariasis symptoms?
Most of the infections are asymptomatic, but if the state worsens to becoming acute or chronic, it will lead to an onset of swelling which gets very painful, eventually causing permanent disability.
- Elephantiasis happens in the later stage of lymphatic filariasis and leads to the swelling of the legs and genitals.
- Swelling at different places of your body is a result of change in the lymphatic glands
- Severe inflammation of the skin, lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes.
What causes filariasis?
Mosquitos administer filarial parasites into the human body with recurring bites. These larvae worms reside in the human lymph system where they grow to become adults and live in the body for somewhere between 6-8 years, mating and giving birth to millions of larvae.
How do you prevent filariasis?
Currently there are no vaccines available, so preventing mosquito bite is the best form of defense.
- Refrain from going outdoors at dusk or dawn when the carriers are highly active
- Sleep inside an insecticide-treated mosquito net
- Cover yourself with long sleeved shirts and trousers
- Refrain from sporting strong perfume or cologne which can draw the attention of mosquitoes
How do you treat filariasis?
Filariasis is one of the more aching and distressing diseases caused by mosquitoes. Thankfully, there are drugs to fight off the infection in its early stages and surgical procedures for later chronic stages, which would assist in draining the lymphatic system of its menacing residents.