What are the symptoms of lymphatic filariasis?
At first, most people do not know they have lymphatic filariasis. They usually do not feel any symptoms until after the adult worms die. The disease usually is not life threatening, but it can permanently damage the lymph system and kidneys. Because the lymph system does not work right, fluid collects and causes swelling in the arms, breasts and legs. The name for this swelling is lymphoedema. For men, the genital area also becomes swollen, a condition known as hydrocele. The entire leg, arm, or genital area may swell to several times its normal size. Also, the swelling and the decreased function of the lymph system make it difficult for the body to fight germs and infections. These people will have more bacterial infections in the skin and lymph system. This causes hardening and thickening of the skin, which is called elephantiasis.