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Filariasis is a disease caused by a chronic mosquito-borne parasitic infection. Chronic infection can lead to swelling of the extremities, hydroceles, and testicular masses. It is the second-largest cause of permanent deformity and disability behind leprosy worldwide. Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is currently considered a neglected tropical disease. The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis is providing mass drug administrations (MDA) to populations in endemic areas in a push to eradicate this disease. Several programs exist to encourage participation with MDA.


Symptoms may include itchy skin (pruritis), abdominal pain, chest pain, muscle pain (myalgias), and/or areas of swelling under the skin. Other symptoms may include an abnormally enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), and inflammation in the affected organs.


Lymphatic filariasis is caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea. There are 3 types of these thread-like filarial worms: Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases. Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases.

Risk factors

Many mosquito bites over several months to years are needed to get lymphatic filariasis. People living for a long time in tropical or sub-tropical areas where the disease is common are at the greatest risk for infection. Short-term tourists have a very low risk.

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Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia.

Filarial arthritis.

Filarial-associated immune complex glomerulonephritis.

Filarial breast abscesses.


The best way to prevent filariasis is to avoid mosquito bites, particularly in tropical areas. If you live in or travel to places where a filariasis infection is possible, take the following steps to prevent mosquito bites: Sleep under a mosquito net. Use insect repellent on exposed skin, especially at night.