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Filariasis in Indonesia

Filariasis is a parasitic disease. It is caused by microscopic, thread-like worms that are spread via mosquito bites. Larvae enter the skin when a person is bitten, then travel to the lymph nodes, where they develop into adult worms. The adult worms reproduce (creating microfilaria) then migrate farther in the tissues and circulate in the blood causing a variety of symptoms.

Initial symptoms include skin redness and swollen lymph nodes in the arms and legs. Headache, weakness, muscles pain, coughing, wheezing and fever are also common.

To contract lymphatic filariasis, one would have to endure thousands of mosquito bites over several months or years. Thus, short-term travelers are at low risk. Nevertheless, all travelers should prevent insect bites.

Additional info on Filariasis from the US Center for Disease Control

If you have medical-related questions about living in Indonesia to ask of medical professionals, see Ask the Experts.

We trust this information will assist you in making correct choices regarding your health and welfare. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for personalized advice from your medical adviser.

Our appreciation to the Coordinating Doctors of International SOS, an AEA Company who have contributed this article in response to a health threat faced by expatriates in Indonesia.