According to the World Health Organization Elephantiasis, characterized by skin thickenings and the gross swelling of underlying tissues, particularly in the legs, the scrotum, the vulva, the male genitals, the arms, and the breasts, that may have underlying accompanying internal damages to the kidneys and lymphatic system as well, affects approximately one hundred and twenty million people around the world, with about one third of them residing in India, one third of them living in Africa, and most of the rest of the reported cases being in the Pacific, South Asia, and the Americas, especially in tropical and subtropical regions where lymphatic filariasis is well established.
The rapid and unplanned growth of cities, and the mosquito breeding grounds they can develop, may be a primary cause of the Elephantiasis that the parasitic filarial worms Wuchereria Bancrofti and Brugia Malayi, that live up to six years almost exclusively in the lymphatic system of humans, may create. Other causes of the disease may include affected vessels that maintain the fluid balance between the blood and the tissues, infected lymph nodes, and the millions of microfilarial larvae, transmitted by mosquito bites, with an incubation period of between seven to twenty-one days, that continually circulate in the bloodstream.
Generally acquired in early childhood, taking several years to develop, and typically affecting more men than women, the symptoms of Elephantiasis may include such things as kidney damages, lymphatic pathologies, hydrocoele, excessive fluid collections around the testicles, body parts swelling up to ten times their normal sizes, chronic lymphedema, immune response deficiencies, and lymphatic system failures.
Treatment options for patients with Elephantiasis may include Albendazole, Diethylcarbamazine, Ivermectin, and Doxycycline for worm infestations, rigorous hygiene of the affected areas, lymph fluid flow promotions that help reduce the frequency of acute inflammations, and surgical treatments for Scrotal Elephantiasis.
Most rampant among poor farmers in the central and eastern portions of the African continent, and in Central America, Podoconiosis, or Nonfilarial Elephantiasis, generally affects the lower legs and feet with extremely painful swelling and cracks in the skin, that may be prevented simply by wearing shoes in high altitude areas around volcanoes, where red clay and high alkaline content may enter and clog the lymphatic system with symptoms that may not appear for as many as thirty years after doing so.
Countries where Elephantiasis rates are most endemic include Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi.
This Article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information about Elephantiasis including: