Published in TB and Outbreaks Week, July 19th, 2005
The disease is triggered by the bite of an infected mosquito: together with its anticoagulant, the mosquito pumps threadworm larvae into its host's body. These gravitate towards the lymph nodes, where they grow into threadworms that may be up to ten centimeters long. The body reacts by producing inflammation that halts the flow of lymphatic fluid. The consequence of this is that arms, legs and genitals swell to monstrous proportions - hence the name elephantiasis. More than 120 million people worldwide are infected with the pathogen wuchereria bancrofti.
Adult wuchereria worms have a lifespan of up to five...
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