|A woman with Elephantiasis tropica|
|Classification and external resources|
|Specialty||Infectious disease, general surgery|
Elephantiasis is the enlargement and hardening of limbs or body parts due to tissue swelling. It is characterised by oedema, hypertrophy, and fibrosis of skin and subcutaneous tissues, due to obstruction of lymphatic vessels. It may affect the genitalia. The term elephantiasis is often used in reference to (symptoms caused by) parasitic worm infections, but may refer to variety of diseases where parts of a person's body swell to massive proportions.
Some conditions that present with elephantiasis include:
- Elephantiasis nostras, due to longstanding chronic lymphangitis
- Elephantiasis tropica or lymphatic filariasis, caused by a number of parasitic worms, particularly Wuchereria bancrofti. More than 120 million people, mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia, are affected.
- Nonfilarial elephantiasis or podoconiosis, an immune disease affecting the lymph vessels
- Elephantiasis, Grade 3 lymphedema which may occur in people with breast cancer
- Genital elephantiasis, end result of lymphogranuloma venereum
- Proteus syndrome, a genetic disorder. A notable sufferer of Proteus syndrome was the so-called Elephant Man.
Other causes may include:
- Repeated streptococcal infection
- Hereditary birth defects
- Pretibial myxedema
The disease inflicted 1.5 million victims in Ethiopia out of 4 million across the globe in 2018. As per WHO, over 1 billion people in 54 countries, especially in tropical regions, are at risk of elephantiasis although the disease is preventable.
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- "elephantiasis", The Free Dictionary, retrieved 2018-06-28
- Carlson, Emily (27 March 2013). "Taking the 'Bite' Out of Vector-Borne Diseases - Inside Life Science Series - National Institute of General Medical Sciences". publications.nigms.nih.gov. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Lymphedema". National Cancer Institute. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- HuffPost, On Assignment For (2018-07-17). "Where Shoes Are A Luxury, A Nightmarish Disease May Be Lurking". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- McNeish, Hannah (2017-10-12). "Victims Of This Disfiguring Disease 'Feel So Much Pain And Shame'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
- "Lymphatic filariasis". World Health Organization. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
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