Elephantiasis Essay

779 WordsSep 3, 20144 Pages
Elephantiasis Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a tropical disease characterized by the thickening of skin, and underlying tissues, especially in the legs and male genitals. This is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, rendering it unable to drain lymph, which results in retention of fluids, and thus, lymphedema. Limbs can swell so enormously that they resemble an elephant’s foreleg in size, texture, and color. Infection of LF occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. When a mosquito with infective stage larvae bites a person, the parasites are deposited on the persons skin from where they enter the body. The larvae then migrate to the lymphatic vessels where they develop in to adult worms in the human lymphatic system. The spreading continues as non infected mosquitoes bite someone with larvae in their blood, then proceed to bite someone else, thus introducing larvae into their skin and into their body. The people most at risk for this disease are those located in underdeveloped regions found in South America, Central Africa, India, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Brazil, and the Carribean, just to name a few. Nations found to be endemic tend to be tropical or subtropical due to the optimal habitat for the vectors of LF. Ambient humidity is also necessary for the survival and growth of infective larvae and mosquitoes. The at risk population for contraction of LF includes at least 1.2 billion people. Currently, more than 120 million people are infected with LF, including 25 million men who suffer from genital swelling, and 15 million people who suffer from severe lymphedema or elephantiasis of the leg. So what exactly causes this? Parasites infect lymph nodes and block the flow of lymph throughout the body. Adult worms only live in the human lymphatic system. The long, thread-like worms block the

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