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Filariasis: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Filariasis is a parasitic infection that causes abnormal swelling of different body parts that may lead to permanent disability in some cases. The filarial nematode parasites are spread from one person to another through mosquitoes. Filariasis is a chronic disorder that is most common in tropical regions including Brazil, Guyana, parts of Africa, south Asia etc.

Filariasis can be of different types depending on the part of the body that the parasites occupy. The three major types of filariasis are- lymphatic filariasis, subcutaneous filariasis and serous cavity filariasis. Lymphatic filariasis occurs when the lymphatic system is affected by the parasites and a chronic case of the same can lead to elephantiasis, a condition in which body parts swell to abnormally disproportionate dimensions. Subcutaneous filariasis occurs when the subcutaneous tissues are infected by the parasites. Serous cavity filariasis occurs when parasites occupy the serous cavity of the abdomen.

The most common symptom of lymphatic filariasis is edema which is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in parts of the body. Edema can lead to elephantiasis that is almost always a chronic condition and brings with itself physical disability and social stigma. Symptoms for subcutaneous filariasis include itching, rashes and arthritis. Serous cavity filariasis also causes abdominal pain and itching.

Filariasis, unfortunately, is a chronic condition in most of the cases. However, surgery is an option for people who don't have it that serious. The diet plan and physical activity schedule of a person is of extreme importance too.

How is the treatment done?

Elephantiasis of the scrotal sac or any large hydroceles can be dealt with by the way of a surgical excision. Elephantiasis of the limbs can be corrected with surgery in very little cases and may need more than one surgical procedure and heavy skin grafting. Their is a procedure called lymphology surgery that can treat the not-too serious cases of limb elephantiasis. Filariasis is a chronic condition more often than not. So the easiest to really deal with it is by adopting measures to prevent it. People must be very careful about what enters their body to keep filariasis at bay. People who have chyluria (presence of chyle in the urine stream) must cut down on fatty foods and maintain a diet that is high on protein. People who suffer from limb elephantiasis are advised to mobilize the said limb and keep it at an elevated position at night. The best way to deal with filariasis is to ensure its prevention. To eradicate filariasis, the microfilarae has to be eliminated from the blood of the infected individuals. The spread of the parasites from one individual to the next can be stopped in only this way. Mass drug administration programmes are organized in endemic countries to eliminate this disease. It is important for filariasis to be completely eliminated as it is a chronic condition in most of the cases. The drug that's used is diethylcarbamazine (DEC). So, mass drug administration in affected communities is very important. These measures have brought down the number of affected people considerably.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Edema, the most common symptom of lymphatic filariasis, develops many years after the person gets affected. So, it is very hard to detect filariasis before it gets to a serious stage. People living in endemic regions are eligible for the drug administration programs to eliminate the disorder. Surgery is also an option for a few affected people; however, surgery is successful in very rare cases.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

As the physical manisfestations of filariasis are visible years after a person actually gets affected, many people suffering from filariasis don't actually get treated before it's too long.

Are there any side effects?

Like any other major surgery, the surgery for lymphatic filariasis has its share of side effects. The drugs injected to eliminate filariasis can aggravate the condition of one's onchoceral eye disease.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

People who undergo lymphology procedure must adhere by the guidelines set by their surgeons.

How long does it take to recover?

The time of recovery varies from one individual to the next and the severity of the condition in the respective individuals. People who undergo lymphology need almost a month to recover completely.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of drug administration is quite affordabele with the cost ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.150 per year. The cost of surgery in India really depends upon the extent of it.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Mass drug administration is able to permanently destroy all the parasites in the body. The permanence of the lymphology procedure however cannot be guaranteed.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Info Not Available

Popular Questions & Answers

I want information about micro fialaria please tell all details about this problem.

It's a parasite and transmitted through mosquito bites and leads to lymph nodes enlargement and drainage of lymphatic fluid leading to excess collection of lymphatic fluid, specially in the legs and irreversible changes looking like legs of elepha...

Which is best diagnostic test for filaria. What is the difference between filaria antigen and antibody test?

The ict filariasis test: a rapid-format antigen test for diagnosis of bancroftian filariasis. Antigen testing is now recognized as the method of choice for detection of wuchereria bancrofti infections. Unlike tests that detect microfilariae, antig...
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What is the tablet for elephantiasis disease for left leg? Is this disease cured or not?

There are tablets for elephantiasis or filariasis which are freely availabe. It is curable, but the deformity in the leg may or may not decrease depending on how severe is the deformity.
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I am 55 years old and I am suffering from elephantiasis how to cure this disease and which doctors are best for it's treatment in india.

elephantiasis is a parasitic infections transmitted by mosquitoes. treatment is hetrazan . dose depending upon the severity. certain physical changes in shape of the legs and other affected parts are irreversible and affected areas do get hardened...
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What is the scientific reason to take sample for smear test on filariasis in the night?

Dear Lybrateuser, - The microfilaria which cause lymphatic filariasis circulate in the blood at night when their concentration in the blood is at its peak & therefore the chances of slide positivity becomes maximum.

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Written By
ACLS,POST GRADUATE COURSE IN RHEUMATOLOGY,Fellowship in Diabetes,MBBS,Post Graduate Course In Rheumatology,MD - Medicine,Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling
Internal Medicine
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