What is Lymphatic Filariasis ?


Filariasis is caused by a parasite which belongs to the nematode family. The parasites which can cause this disease are the following: Wuchereria Bancrofti, Brugia Malayi and Brugya Timori. All three infections are transmitted to man by the bites of infective mosquitoes.

Worldwide Problem with Filariasis Filariasis is a global problem. According to WHO reports, an estimated 751 million people are at Filariasis is a global problem. According to WHO reports, an estimated 751 million people are at “Risk” for infection, and 120 million have actually been infected. The public health problem of lymphatic filariasis is greatest in China, India and Indonesia. These three countries account for about two–thirds of the estimated world total of persons infected.

Filarial Problem in India Filariasis is a major public health problem in India. There are an estimated six million attacks of acute filarial disease per year, and at least 45 million persons currently have one or more chronic filarial lesions. Heavily infected areas are found in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat.

The infection is acquired from a person who has filariasis. The maximum infectivity is when the organisms are circulating in the blood. The largest number appear in the blood at night time, and retreat from the blood stream during day. Their usual habitat is in the lymph nodes. The mosquito feeds on such a person and acquires the filarial parasite. The filarial organism is transmitted when the mosquito bites a person. The parasite is deposited near the site of puncture. It passes through the punctured skin or may penetrate the skin on its own and finally reach the lymphatic system. Filariasis affects all age groups.