Topics: Filariasis, Infection, Malaria Pages: 3 (629 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Desiree M Chubb
Microbiology - R.Haneke
Tuesday April 16th, 2013


Causitive agent & description

Elephantitis or lymphatis filariasis infects many species of vertebrates and invertebrates including humans. This is a tropical disease caused by a parasitic round worms known as microfilariae that enter the blood. Genus involved include Wolbachia, Wuchereria and Brugia. For humans to get this disease they must usually get bitten by a mosquito, which acts as the host and vector for three species Wuchereria a bancrofti (most common 90%), B timori, and Brugia malayi.


This disease has been documented in ancient text by Ancient Greek and Roman scholars. They noted the similarities between the enlarged limbs and cracked skin of infected individuals to that of elephants. Elephantiasis translates to “a disease caused by elephants” which absolutly not the case. Wuchereria bancrofti was named after physician Otto Wucherer and parasitologist Joseph Bancroft who studied filarial infections in the late 1800's. Bancroft was one of the first to suggest it was transmitted by mosquitoes.

Mode of Transmission

Parasites are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and develop into adult worms in the lymphatic vessels of humans. Blockage of lymph nodes inhibits flow of lymph throughout the body which results in chronic edema and can have massive swelling potential mostly in lower extremities.

Signs and Symptoms

Lymphoedema of the limbs, genital disease, swelling of the scrotum and penis, and fevers are just some of the issues reported by the people infected between 2 weeks and many years after infection. The majority show no symptoms, but most incur lymphatic damage and as many as 40% have kidney problems.

Target Population

This opportunistic infection is common in sub-tropical regions and Africa. To date, Africa, India, South East Asia and South America have the majority of infectious cases reported....
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