Filariasis is an infectious tropical disease caused by any one of several thread-like parasitic round worms. The two species of worms most often associated with this disease are Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi. The larval form of the parasite transmits the disease to humans by the bite of a mosquito. In the early stages of the infection, the patient characteristically complains of fever, chills, headache and skin lesions.
Any one of several antiparasitic agents may be effective in eliminating the worm. However, if the disease is left untreated, obstruction of the lymph flow will cause particular areas of the body especially the legs and external genitals, to swell profoundly. Symptoms are primarily a response to adult worms that cause inflammation. Chronic inflammation may progress to hardening of the lymphatic vessels (fibrosis) and obstruction of the lymph flow.
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