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Published by: myles_cute on Aug 25, 2009
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Filariasis (Philariasis)
is a parasiticandinfectious tropical disease,that is caused by thread-like filarialnematodeworms in the superfamilyFilarioidea,
also known as "filariae".
There are 9known filarial nematodes which use humans as thedefinitive host.These are divided into 3 groups according to the niche within the body that they occupy: Lymphatic Filariasis,Subcutaneous Filariasis, and Serous Cavity Filariasis. Lymphatic Filariasis is caused by theworms
, and
. These worms occupy thelymphatic system, including the lymph nodes, and in chronic cases these worms lead to thediseaseElephantiasis. Subcutaneous Filariasis is caused by
(the African eye worm),
Mansonella streptocerca
, and
(the guinea worm).These worms occupy thesubcutaneous layer of the skin, the fat layer. Serous Cavity Filariasis is caused by the worms
Mansonella perstans
Mansonella ozzardi
, which occupy the serouscavity of the abdomen. In all cases, the transmittingvectorsare either blood sucking insects (fly or mosquito
) or Copepodcrustaceans in the case of 
 Dracunculus medinensis
.Human filarial nematode worms have a complicated life cycle, which primarily consists of fivestages. After the male and female worm mate, the female gives birth to livemicrofilariaeby thethousands. The microfilariae are taken up by thevector insect (intermediate host) during a bloodmeal. In the intermediate host, the microfilariae molt and develop into 3rd stage (infective)larvae. Upon taking another blood meal the vector insect injects the infectious larvae into thedermis layer of our skin. After approximately one year the larvae molt through 2 more stages,maturing into to the adult worm.Individuals infected by filarial worms may be described as either "microfilaraemic" or "amicrofilaraemic," depending on whether or not microfilaria are found in their peripheral blood.Filariasis is diagnosed in microfilaraemic cases primarily through direct observation of microfilaria in the peripheral blood.
Occult filariasis
is diagnosed in amicrofilaraemic cases based on clinical observations and, in some cases, by finding a circulating antigen in the blood.
Classification and external resources

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