Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis)

Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis)

Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease transmitted by infected mosquitos. Infection is usually acquired in childhood, but the painful and profoundly disfiguring visible manifestations of the disease occur later in life1.

Impact

Nearly 1.4 billion people in 73 countries worldwide are threatened by lymphatic filariasis. Over 120 million people are currently infected, with about 40 million disfigured and incapacitated by the disease.

Geography

This disease is most commonly found in Southeast Asia and Africa, as well as in other tropical areas.

Symptoms

According to the World Health Organization, there are three conditions of lymphatic filariasis: asymptomatic, acute, and chronic. Most infections are asymptomatic. While this type of infection has no visible symptoms, it causes damage to the lymphatic system and to the kidneys. The symptoms of acute infections include inflammation of the skin and lymph nodes. Symptoms of chronic lymphatic filariasis include tissue swelling, thickening of the limbs, and fluid accumulation1

Prevention

Lymphatic filariasis can be treated using various drugs and can be prevented by vector control, such as with the use of an insecticide-treated bed net.

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