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In patients with filariasis, the illness starts as “Filarial fevers”. These are episodes of fever with chills and inflammation of the lymph glands particularly in the groin. Such episodes occur 6 to 10 times a year, and this fever subsides on its own in about three to five days. The lymph nodes during the episodes of fever are painful.

Repeated episodes over a period of time causes damage to the lymph glands. The extremities usually become swollen and skin changes are seen. The skin gets hardened. The limbs look like an elephant and is therefore called elephentiasis. Obstruction to the lymph drainage of the scrotum could lead to scrotal swelling and hydrocele.