Despite the longstanding recognition of the spectral nature of human disease due to lymphatic filariasis, immunologists interested in pathogenesis have mostly examined patients classified as being at either one extreme pole or the other. While the clinically asymptomatic individuals with microfilaremia who sit at one pole always have active infection, it has been difficult to define who else on the clinical spectrum is actively infected with living adult worms. In this review, David Freedman discusses how the ability to measure circulating filarial antigen in patient serum has advanced our ability to understand the immunopathogenesis of lymphatic filariasis by improving the precision of patient classification. Recent work suggests that the presence (or absence) of antigenemia, rather than overt clinical manifestations of disease, is closely associated with specific cytokine responses. A framework for patient classification based on these findings is proposed.