Treatment and Control

Lymphatic filariasis, more commonly known as elephantiasis, is a disease that can be totally eliminated! Lymphatic filariasis is considered a neglected tropical disease. Strategies to reduce the disease have been in progress for the past 50 years, but in the past decade a global campaign has been launched to completely eliminate the infectious worm (Ottesen 2006). Diethylcarbamazine (DEC) is the main drug used to kill the microfilariae and can occasionally kill the adult worms as well. Whole communities are annually medicated in hopes to put an end to the disease (CDC 2013). The rise in information and knowledge also helps in controlling the spread of infection (Ottesen 2006).

Other than medication, the key way to prevent B. malayi infection is to protect against mosquitos carrying the infectious larvae. Mosquitos usually feast during the evening and at night. During these times is when prevention measures are most essential. Repellent applied to the skin, bed nets, and wearing pants and long sleeves are all worthy defensive actions (CDC 2013).

The most efficient way to diagnose the infection of B. malayi is to take a blood smear of the potential carrier. The blood can then be examined under a microscope looking for microfilariae. The blood sample should be taken at night, due to their nocturnal periodicity, which will ensure the microfilariae are circulating in the blood (CDC 2013).

Few Individuals infected will undergo surgery, removing regions with severe enlargement from elephantiasis. This does not cure the disease, but instead gives the infected host improved movement and function of the limbs (Azoubel 2010).


Go here to learn more about lymphatic filariasis and join the effort to eliminate the disease!

 You can also come check out some interesting facts on this parasitic nematode.

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