About Filariasis / Elephantiasis


Filariasis commonly known as elephantiasis is a neglected tropical disease. Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. Elephantiasis is the enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling. It is characterised by edema, hypertrophy, and fibrosis of skin and subcutaneous tissues due to obstruction of lymphatic vessels. The term elephantiasis is often used in reference to parasitic worm infections, but may refer to a variety of diseases where parts of a person’s body swell to massive proportions


Usually, to get elephantiasis, you would have to be bitten by a lot of mosquitoes over a long time, in a country where certain types of roundworms are known to exist. It starts when mosquitoes infected with the roundworm larvae bite you. The tiny larvae survive in your
bloodstream and grow. They finish maturing in your lymph system. They can live there for years and cause a lot of damage to your lymph system. This is what causes the swelling. You may not know you have elephantiasis until you notice the swelling. Not only will those body parts begin to look bulky and lumpy with stiff, tough skin, there is also pain in the swollen area. You may also have chills, fever, and just feel bad all over.


There are medicines to treat elephantiasis. You may give you one called diethylcarbamazine (DEC). You’ll take it once a year. It will kill the microscopic worms in your bloodstream. Another way to treat elephantiasis is to use DEC in combination with a medicine called  ivermectin . This is also taken once a year, and the combination has shown better long- term results.