Elephantiasis is a disease that is the thickening of the skin and underlying tissues that particularly form in the legs and external genitals. Elephantiasis is caused by obstruction of the lymphatic system, which results in the accumulation of a fluid called lymph in the affected areas. There are many different ways you can get this disease and some causes closely associated with elephantiasis are sexually transmitted diseases (also called lymphogranuloma venereum when that happens), tuberculosis, an infectious disease called leishmaniasis, repeated streptococcal infections, leprosy, and environmental factors such as exposure to certain minerals (like places in Africa and India where the people walk around with no shoes.) A protozoan disease called leishmaniasis, a repeated streptococcal infection, and surgical removal of lymph nodes to prevent the spread of cancer can also be some causes of Elephantiasis. If the surrounding tissues die it can occur from an obstructed blood supply. In some cases, no cause can be identified but those are some of the known explanations to why this disease occurs. Symptoms are blocked lymph duct, brawny skin color, enlarged groin lymph nodes, fever, fibrotic skin tissue, impaired lymphatic drainage, severe swelling/ leg swelling, swollen genitalia and breasts, pain above testicles, skin ulceration swollen liver, swollen spleen, thickened skin tissue, verrucous skin appearance, white urinary discharge, abnormal accumulation of watery fluid in the tissues, severe swelling, and thickened skin. There could also be a pebbly appearance, fever, chills, flu like symptoms, and vomiting. In a lot of cases symptoms don’t even appear for years after you were first infected, you may see symptoms appear 5 to 18 months after the mosquito bite.
Elephantiasis is mostly found in places that have vectors which are mosquitoes that carry diseases. These mosquitoes carry several different types of parasitic worms called Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and B. timori, and those worms carry elephantiasis. These vectors are mainly found in South America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, West Indies, Africa, Spain, Turkey, Asia, Australia, and many South Pacific Islands but are spread over 80 countries. It is also caused by repeated contact with volcanic ash in the area and in Africa people mostly get it when they walk barefoot on red soil because of the chemicals and bacteria in that soil. Elephantiasis affects over 120 million worldwide. If you get Filariasis, a similar disease spread to man by mosquito bites, you can develop elephantiasis as a symptom as well. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, “Treatment can include chemotherapy to attack the adult worms as well as symptomatic treatment to repair damage caused by the body's reaction to the presence of dead worms. Drugs including Suramin (Antrypol), Diethylcarbamazine (DEC, Heterazan, Banocide, and Notezine), Ivermectin (Mectizan), Metrifonate (Trichlorphon), Mebendazole and Levamisole have shown to be effective in treating conditions associated with a filarial infection. Failure of the Lymphatic system due to an infection provides an opportunity for microbial infections to develop. These infections can be minimized by proper anisepticalyl hygenic care. Surgery can be performed to remove or bypass damaged lymphatic regions.” Chest X-Ray shows increased bronchovascular markings and can help doctors determine if you are infected as well. Medications don’t really work against adult worms and new microfilariae produced by the adult worms often continue to show up months after treatment and they continue to grow and spread and it is really hard to get rid of them. The only sure way to diagnose these types of diseases is by detecting the parasite itself, either the adult worms or the microfilariae. You can use microscopic examination of the person's