What Is Elephantiasis?

By james
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Elephantiasis is not a word, or a disease, that most people encounter on a regular basis. It’s not a condition that doctors see often, either. While there are many causes and various symptoms of elephantiasis, it is basically a swelling and hardening of body parts due to a dysfunction in the body’s lymphatic system.

This rare disease can be triggered by parasitic infection, bacterial infection, and even genetic disorders. Read on to discover who can get elephantiasis, how it’s treated, and whether you need to be concerned about picking it up on your next trip abroad.

1. What Are the Causes of Elephantiasis?

Individuals who live in underdeveloped areas of the world, such as South America, Central Africa, and certain Caribbean islands are at risk of being infected with tiny roundworms by way of a mosquito bite. These worms block the flow of lymph and make it difficult for the lymphatic system to filter out microorganisms and toxins. Leishmaniasis, another infectious disease caused by a parasite, can trigger the condition as well.

Other conditions that can cause elephantiasis-like symptoms include Proteus syndrome, which is a genetic condition that leads to a large head; lymph node lesions; and overgrowth of various parts of the body. Birth defects and even strep infection can play a part in some patients’ elephantiasis diagnosis as well.


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