Elephantiasis has its name for a very good reason. The disease is characterized by human body parts that become infected and swell to 3 or 4 times their average size. The disease is normally found in mosquitoes that transfer the disease from one human to the next when biting an individual. Lymphatic filariasis is another medical terminology used for elephantiasis.
Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic infestation of nematodes, which are worms that are more commonly known as roundworms because of their round like shape.
Individuals, who are infected with the disease, carry the larvae, known as microfilariae, in their body’s bloodstream. The larva is the transitional form of a worm between the egg and adult. The disease takes about four weeks to completely travel to the mosquitoes biting mouth parts. Once a person is bitten by the infected mosquito the process is complete.
There are more than 100 million people with elephantiasis and they have been extremely disfigured and incapacitated by the infection. The body parts that are more commonly affected are the arms, legs, genitals, and breasts. A person with swollen limbs and genitals usually has problems with walking. Some individuals will suffer kidney problems and may find themselves with even more severe ailments.
The disease seems to be more common in third world countries and usually the more poor areas of the country. There have been research and studies done to try eliminating the disease, researchers believe they are getting closer to finding a treatment plan that will work.
There have been some surgical procedures done to help those with elephantiasis that has attacked the scrotum area, but no surgical method seems effective enough to help with the limb areas.
Research has shown that keeping the infected area cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis does help the condition. It is important that individuals, who are infected with the disease, keep their bodies properly washed and clean to afford further complications of the disease. Studies have shown that a big part of elephantiasis is secondary skin infections that have occurred due to the infection. The disease can be present in both men and women, and can affect individuals differently.
Many of children have been prevented from having the disease and researchers hope by the year of 2020 they will have a cure for elephantiasis. As for now there is no cure for the disease, but there are different methods of treatment and prevention.