What are the signs and symptoms of lymphatic filariasis?
Most infected people are asymptomatic and will never develop clinical symptoms, despite the fact that the parasite damages the lymph system. A small percentage of persons will develop lymphedema. This is caused by improper functioning of the lymph system that results in fluid collection and swelling. This mostly affects the legs, but can also occur in the arms, breasts, and genitalia. Most people develop these clinical manifestations years after being infected. The swelling and the decreased function of the lymph system make it difficult for the body to fight germs and infections. Affected persons will have more bacterial infections in the skin and lymph system. This causes hardening and thickening of the skin, which is called elephantiasis. Many of these bacterial infections can be prevented with appropriate skin hygiene. Men can develop hydrocele or swelling of the scrotum due to infection with one of the parasites that causes LF specifically W. bancrofti. Filarial infection can also