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Causes, Prevention and Treatment of Elephantiasis or Filariasis

There are three types of filariasis caused by nematode infections.

Filariasis is a tropical infectious disease caused by nematode parasites. There are about eight known filarial parasites, which use human as a host in their life cycle. Filariasis can be divided into three categories according to the part of the body in which the filarial worms occupy.

Lymphatic filariasis can be causes by three worms Wuchereria bancroftiBrugia timori and Brugia malayi. In lymphatic filariasis the nematodes occupy the lymphatic system, including the lymph nodes. Chronic cases of lymphatic filariasis are known as Elephantiasis.

Tropical elephantiasis shows symptoms line night cough, breathing problem, fever, weight loss, etc. These symptoms are due to the allergies created by the larval forms of the parasites.

The parasite occupies the fat layer below the skin in subcutaneous filariasis and is caused by the African eye worm (Mansonella streptocercaOnchocerca volvulus) and the Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis).

 (Eye worm)

When the parasites (Mansonella perstans and Mansonella ozzardi) occupy the serous cavity of the abdomen, it leads to the serous cavity filariasis. In all the three cases the vector or the transmitting agents are flies or mosquitoes, which suck blood. Some copepod crustaceans also spread Guinea worm.

Filariasis Treatment

The first medicine used to treat filariasis, Diethylcarbamasin citrate (DEC), came into use in the year 1948. Now,albendazole combimned with ivermectin is used to kill adult filarial worms. DEC is a microfilaricide, which kills only the larval form of filarial worms. The DEC changes the morphological features of the microfilarial larva, which are later engulfed by the macrophages (white blood cells). The antibiotic doxycycline was suggested to cure Elephantiasis. 

 Cure=

Side effects: The most common side effects of anti-filarial drugs are loss of appetite, nausea, headache, tiredness and giddiness.

Prevention 

Prevention of filariasis can be achieved by taking antifilarial drugs as a preventive measure, if the disease is wide spread in the community. Avoiding mosquito bites using creams and mosquito net bed are safer ways to stay away from filarial infections.

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© 2010 Dr.P.Elayaraja

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  1. Humans suffer in so many ways!

  2. Informative Post. First time I read or hear this

  3. Interesting and informative. Nice share.

  4. right said

  5. These mosquitoes !!! They are responsible for so many diseases. I wish they never existed.

  6. Oh I really feel for these people. A very informative article. Well done.

    Christine

  7. So scary diseases. I’ve heard of elephantiasis and imagined it right :( Good post.

  8. Nice article. You should have split into three articles.

  9. Very Nice Share.

  10. I wish those people get well soon..really dreadful disease..Thanks for sharing.

  11. nice share..interesting!

  12. Informative and new to me. This is horrible!

  13. OMG – I hope those people get cured soon. I haven’t heard of any Charities that help about this and it’s good you raised the awareness.

  14. Excellent information on a common disease that kills the looks and causes severe agony to the infected. Keep up the great work Doc, you rock :) Thank you very much for the information

  15. this disease really is scary

  16. Nice post………

    thanks for share.

    :-)

  17. so pitiful…
    thanks doc for putting this informative article, though upset to see the pics, but at least I know there are really many sufferings in the world.

  18. The condition of those people is really pitiful. hope noone gets this disease…..Thank u for sharing

  19. This is truly frightful.You always get the best of blogs.thanks for sharing.

  20. Good but scary!

  21. Good information. The only problem is that this disease is normally discovered when it is too late.

  22. very ugly feet, but very good info!

  23. Just wow

  24. OMG So scary diseases, good post

  25. Interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Informative post. First time to know this scary disease. Learn new things. Thanks for sharing.

  27. a bizarre disease indeed…thanks for the valuable info

  28. I Like It Nice Post :)

  29. thanks for sharing

  30. Sadness abounds on planet Earth.

  31. those are really disturbing pictures! thanks for the tips!

  32. Oh these poor people, I hope something can be done for them.

  33. ohhhhhh god help them – GJ

  34. Thank you for sharing this very good information.

  35. Creepy to think about, but interesting.

  36. Another useful and informative post from you.

  37. Thank you for your valuable info.

  38. Scary enough looking at the pictures of this, couldn’t imagine living with it cheers

  39. this is a good share. helpful indeed =)

  40. Thanks for the information

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  43. Very informative, thanks for information.

  44. I have watched this on TV and it was kind of scary. Their looks were deformed and I can’t help but pitied them. I hope there can be a total cure for them. You’ve got a good topic.

  45. Hi Sir,
    I am Sagar , I am 29 male from India . On 2002 I have infected with Filarial disease. I had pain on one of the nerve on left leg and had fever. Initial my Dr given me DEC ( 100 Mg X 3 / Day ) for 21 Days. + Albendazole 400 MG one and Avil tab 1 per day for 21 days. the fever and pain on nerve is reduced with some small pimple like bump are appeared on the leg and poss on it. Its reduced after some days. But again and again I faced the same after 3/4 month.
    Again I started taking for 3 years ( DEC : 100 Mg X 3/days for 7 days in a Months ) . I had no swollen leg, or no big pain or regular fever. Only I had etching on the leg and if I discontinued some time slight pain or burning sensation on leg. I afraid I have infected for last 7/8 years , there is no Swollen but not cured 100%, some time itching and dull pain one nerve of one lege. some time light burning sensation, Please suggest I can be cured or not. is there any medicine to kill adult worm .

  46. Dear Sagar, This is Dr,Karthick you are probably in stage II lymphodema. You must really take good care so that you should not fall into stage 3 or 4 , as they are dreadly. Proper management techniques o first and second stages have been formulated. If followed properly you can prevent the progression of this disease. You can find the mother worm and destroy so that you dont get any fever in future. You can contact me at gmfoundations at gmail.com or at www. gurumithrren. org Takea care and write to me for further information.

  47. Any big sized filarial leg can be saved from amputation. Any leg can be saved, by a wonderful procedure bringing the affected people back to normal life and normal living.

    you can visit gurumithrren.org

  48. HELLO SIR,I am the wife of GOPAL KRISHAN BANSAL who is suffering from elephantiasis in right leg.We are from punjab ,moga. Please prescribe any succesful treatment for elephantiasis in your hospital.MY CONTACT NO. is 09463303304.
    THANK YOU

  49. any preventive medicines for this disease? Do the preventive medicines cause any side effects?

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