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Diseases » Filariasis

Filariasis or filaria is the common name for a threadworm that is parasitic on vertebrates, including humans. Many filariae cause disease collectively known as filariasis.  Infection either manifests no clinical symptoms or may be indicated in various ways, the most medically important of which is the inflammation of the lymphatics, called lymphangitis, and elephantiasis.

The eye worm, found in the connective tissue and in the conjunctiva, causes the inflammatory disease loaiasis, characterized by fugitive swelling called calabar swelling by biting flies. The worm indigenous to the west coast of Africa is transmitted by biting flies. The Guinea worm is a parasite found in Africa and Asia. This worm may grow to 3m (10 ft) long and often causes painful tumors, blisters, and boils. The microfilariae are released into water and eaten by the tiny copepods. The disease is contracted by drinking water containing infected copepods.

Another filarial disease is river blindness, or onchocerciasis. Onchocerciasis produce skin irritation and nodules and can cause blindness, apparently through the effect of metabolic by products of the roundworm.

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