Filarial Infection

What is Filarial Infection?

Filarial infection is a parasitic infection that is spread by mosquitoes. It is caused by three types of worm, commonly known as filarial worms, that are found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is one of the most common parasitic diseases in the world and is a major cause of ill health in developing countries. The worms can cause long-term disability and, under certain conditions, can be fatal.

Signs and Symptoms

Filarial infection may cause a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptoms include:

  • Swollen arms or legs
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain


In order to diagnose a filarial infection, doctors will typically perform a physical examination and then order laboratory tests. An antibody test can be used to detect antibodies against the filarial worms. Ultrasonography or computed tomography (CT) scans may also be used to identify the location and size of any enlarged lymph nodes.


The treatment of filarial infection typically includes both medications and lifestyle changes. Medications may be prescribed to kill the parasites, as well as relieve symptoms. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding mosquitoes and wearing proper clothing, can help prevent further transmission of the infection. Surgery may be recommended in cases where the worms have caused serious damage.


The best way to prevent filarial infection is to avoid areas where it is known to occur. Mosquito-borne diseases can be prevented by taking the following steps:

  • Using insect repellents when outdoors
  • Wearing long, light-colored clothing
  • Using bed nets to avoid nighttime bites
  • Avoiding standing water where mosquitoes can breed