Lymphatic Filariasis

Ifilariasis victim

Lymphatic Filariasis is caused primarily by parasitic worms (filariae) that live in the lymphatic vessels. The female worms release microfilariae that circulate in the blood surrounding the lymph vessels. The microfilariae can be injested by female mosquitoes during feeding and transmitted from person to person. The most common, visible signs of infection are excessively enlarged arms, legs, genitalia, and breasts. Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi are the main worm species that cause filariasis in humans. 120 million people in at least 80 countries are infected with lymphatic filarial parasites, and it is estimated that 1 billion are at risk of acquiring infection.

Image courtesy of the late Professor Bruce McMillan, School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, University of Sydney.