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Lymphatic filariasis

Related Terms

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Background

  • Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is a parasitic infestation of nematodes. Nematodes are worms, commonly known as roundworms because of their shape. The nematodes that invade the human body and damage internal structures are Brugia malayi, Brugia timori,and Wuchereria bancrofti.
  • The disease is transmitted from human to human by certain species of mosquitoes. Mosquito species that can transmit the disease are Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes and some Anopheles species; Brugia roundworms are primarily transmitted by Mansonia mosquitoes.
  • If a human is infected, he or she carries larvae, known as microfilariae, in the bloodstream. A larva is the transitional form of a worm between the egg and adult. If an infected person is bitten by a mosquito that is capable of carrying the microfilaria, these organisms then develop within the mosquito to an infective stage. The process takes one to three weeks before the larvae travel to the mosquito's biting mouth parts. When the mosquito bites another human, the larvae enter that person's bloodstream, thus completing the infectious cycle.
  • The microfilariae travel from the bloodstream into the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels that maintain a delicate fluid balance between body's tissues and the bloodstream. They lodge in the lymphatic system where they mature into adult worms. These worms live for four to six years and produce millions of immature microfilariae that circulate in the blood.
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Risk Factors

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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Research

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Future Research

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.