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A chronic disease caused by the filarial nematode Loa loa, with symptoms and signs first occurring approximately 3-4 years after a bite by an infected tabanid fly. When the infective larvae mature, the adult worms move about in an irregular course through the connective tissue of the body (as rapidly as 1 cm/minute), frequently becoming visible beneath the skin and mucous membranes; for example, in the back, scalp, chest, inner surface of the lip, and especially on the conjunctiva. The worms provoke hyperemia and exudation of fluid, often a host response to the worm products, a Calabar or fugitive swelling that causes no serious damage and subsides as the parasites move on; the patient is annoyed by the "creeping" in the tissues and intense itching, as well as occasional pain, especially when the swelling is in the region of tendons and joints. Many patients have marked eosinophilia (10-40%).
Etymology: Calabar, a Nigerian seaport
a localized angioedema and erythema usually on the extremities, characterized by fugitive, swollen lumps of subcutaneous tissue caused by a parasitic filarial worm (Loa) endemic to Central and West Africa. The swollen areas migrate with the worm through the body at a speed of about 1 cm per minute and may become as large as a small egg. A kind of calabar swelling is Loa loa. See also loiasis.
Calabar swellingA transient allergic response to microfilariasis by Loa loa, as well as Dipetalonema perstans, which was first described in Africa.
Cryosops silacea and C dimidiata, haematophagous flies of the rain forest.