What is it?
Filariasis is an infection caused by a parasitic worm and is transmitted by bite of a mosquito. It is more prevalent in the tropical areas of Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
What are the symptoms?
Some people with filariasis have no symptoms:
- Other affected individuals may have episodes of high temperatures, shaking chills, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Excessive amounts of fluid may accumulate (edema) in the affected areas (i.e., arms and/or legs), but the accumulation typically resolves after the other symptoms are gone.
- In males attacks may also be accompanied by acute inflammation of the genitalia leading to inflammation, pain and swelling of the testes, sperm track , and/or sperm ducts. The scrotum may become abnormally swollen and painful.
- Some people with filariasis have abnormally high levels of certain white blood cells (eosinophilia) during acute episodes of symptoms.which returns to normal when the inflammation resolves.
- Filariasis may cause chronic lymph node swelling (lymphadenopathy) even in the absence of other symptoms. Longstanding obstruction of the lymphatic vessels may lead to several other conditions. These include accumulation of fluid in the scrotum (hydrocele), the presence of lymphatic fluid in the urine (chyluria), and/or abnormally enlarged lymphatic vessels (varices).
Other symptoms may include:
- Progressive edema (elephantiasis) of the female external genitalia (vulva), breasts, and/or arms and legs.
- Chronic edema may result in skin that is abnormally thick and has a “warty” appearance.
What to expect?
If you are diagnosed with filariasis, you can consider discussing the following subjects with your doctor:
- What treatment options do you have?
- A healthy diet, quitting smoking and active lifestyle can help improve your overall health and well-being. Which changes can you make in your lifestyle?