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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Lymphatic filariasis


Other Names for this Disease
  • Bancroftian filariasis
  • Elephantiasis
  • Elephantitis
  • Filarial elephantiasis
  • Filariasis
More Names
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Overview


Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by microscopic, thread-like worms that only live in the human lymph system, which maintains the body's fluid balance and fights infections. It is spread from person to person by mosquitoes. Most infected people are asymptomatic and never develop clinical symptoms. A small percentage of people develop lymphedema, which may affect the legs, arms, breasts, and genitalia; bacterial infections that cause hardening and thickening of the skin, called elephantiasis; hydrocele (swelling of the scrotum) in men; and pulmonary tropical eosinophilia syndrome. Treatment may include a yearly dose of medicine, called diethylcarbamazine (DEC); while this drug does not kill all of the adult worms, it prevents infected people from giving the disease to someone else.[1]
Last updated: 5/2/2011

References

  1. Parasites - Lymphatic Filariasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 2, 2010; http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lymphaticfilariasis/gen_info/faqs.html. Accessed 5/2/2011.
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Basic Information

  • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Neglected Tropical Diseases Initiative in 2006, the first global effort to support country programs to integrate and scale up delivery of preventive medication for five neglected tropical diseases: lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, trachoma, onchocerciasis, and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Click on the link to view information on this condition.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Lymphatic filariasis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.