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What is filariasis and how it is caused ?

Filaria is a kind of parasitic disease which is considered as an infectious tropical disease, that is caused by thread-like nematodes (roundworm). It is characterized by periodic fever, lymphangitis and lymphatic obstruction. Individuals infected by filarial worms may be described as either "microfilaraemic" or "amicrofilaraemic," depending on whether or not microfilaria can be found in their peripheral blood.

Filariasis is caused by the worms Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori. Wuchereria bancrofti is commonest among these three. These worms occupy the lymphatic system, including the lymph nodes.

The long, thread-like roundworm called Wuchereria Bancrofti lives as a parasite in the bodies of human beings and animals. The male worm is shorter than the female and it has a curved tail. The young worms can be seen in the blood near the body surface of the host or the animal in which the larvae live. When a mosquito bites an infected person at night, it takes up the larvae with the blood. These larvae develop in the mosquito, near the mouth. Then when the insect bites a man or another animal the larvae enter the wound and infect a new host. The adult worms live in the lymph - a body fluid.

When the worms block the flow of lymph, a disease called Elephantiasis results. This disease is characterized by severe swelling of the limbs, usually the legs. Sometimes it even can affect the breast or the scrotum. This gross swelling in the legs and other parts of the body and the thickening of the skin due to blockage of the vessels of the lymphatic system is called Elephantiasis.

How is filariasis transmitted?

Filariasis is transmitted by the bite of infected vector mosquitoes. 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. The dynamics of transmission depends upon the man-mosquito contact.

What is the incubation period?

The time interval from invasion of infective larvae to the development of manifestation is known as incubation period. This period most commonly is 8 to 16 months. It may however be longer.

What are the symptoms of filariasis?

  1. The most striking among Filaria symptoms is elephantiasis. This is like thickening of the skin and underlying tissues. This is the first disease which was discovered to be transmuted by mosquitoes.
  2. Fever along with pain and redness are very common among patients suffering from filaria.
  3. In the later stages lymphatic channels can be seen in lower portions of the limb.
  4. Some patients are found to develop urticaria.
  5. Some may develop pneumonia.
  6. Arthritis is also seen to grow as one of the symptoms of the later stages of the disease.

If you see any of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately. Once you get conscious of the Filaria symptoms you will be able to understand how you can go for Filaria treatment.

How is filariasis diagnosed ?

The diagnosis can also be done in the first stage with the symptoms. If you see any of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately. The diagnosis of lymphatic filariasis relies upon suggestive clinical and epidemiologic clues and supportive laboratory findings. Laboratory tests can be divided into nonspecific test abnormalities, detection of microfilariae on blood smears or filters, serologic tests, and radiology.

Nonspecific test abnormalities — The most common non-specific finding in blood tests from infected individuals is eosinophilia, which may exceed 3000/µL. The exact frequency of eosinophilia due to filariasis in infected individuals is difficult to determine because other helminth infections often coexist in these people and because eosinophilia tends to be seen either early in infection or following therapy. Microscopic hematuria and proteinuria may be present in individuals with renal system involvement.

Blood smears — Blood examination for detection of microfilariae should be performed in all individuals in whom the diagnosis of filariasis is suspected. Bancroftian and Brugian filariasis tend to show nocturnal periodicity. Ideally, blood should be drawn between 10 pm and 2 am because the greatest number of microfilariae can be found in blood during this peak biting time of the mosquito vectors. The pattern of periodicity can be reversed by changing the patient's sleep-wake cycle.

How to prevent filariasis ?

Prevention is better than treatment always. If you once get to see the Filaria symptoms in your area then make sure you follow some of the measures to stay away from the disease.

  • Use mosquito net while going to sleep.
  • Use mosquito repellent creams in the day time.
  • Prevent accumulation and logging of water, as this can help in birth of mosquitoes.
  • Once you see that symptoms are occurring consider visiting doctor immediately.
  • Start intake of lots of water as also make sure that you do intake the medicines on time.
  • Stay away from infected people as they can also get transmitted through mosquitoes.

Why homoeopathy?

Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon strict individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering.

Homeopathy can not only prevent acute attacks an exposure to the precipitating cause, but also has wonderful results in aborting attacks of filariasis if taken immediately when the symptoms start to appear. Homeopathy is also very helpful in developing resistance against the diseases. Homeopathy treats the person as a whole.

It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing case taking and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. Homoeopathic treatment has been shown to significantly control and reduce it, while simultaneously increasing the person’s immunity to external influences.