Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis)

Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) is a disfiguring disease that attacks the lymphatic system. Disfigurement includes enlarge body parts with thick hard skin, that looks like elephant skin, thereby the term elephantiasis. Enlarged body parts comprises of arms, legs, and genitalia.

Infection occurs when one is bitten by mosquitos carrying the worms, which floods the lymphatic system with its larvae, causing a fluid imbalance. The lymphatic systems regulates the exchange of fluid between tissue and blood.

The disease is endemic in 81 countries. It is endemic in many African countries, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Many countries have implemented mass drug administration (MDA) and disability programs.

Prevention:
  • Bed nets for preventing mosquito bites
  • Albendazole is administered together with one of two other antifilarial drugs, ivermectin or diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) for 4 to 6 years. Albendazole is donated free of charge by GlaxoSmithKline. Ivermectin is also donated free of charge to endemic countries in Africa by Merck & Co., Inc.¬†
  • To prevent secondary infection, one should wash infected area, and to alleviate swelling, one should raise affected area or limbs.

Cure:
  • No Cure¬†


Work Cited

World Health Organization. Neglected Tropical Diseases. Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis): 546 million people treated worldwide in 2007 alone.<http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/integrated_media/integrated_media_lf/en/>retrieved 25-May-2012

Carter Center. Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination Program: Alleviating Suffering, Ending Shame (The Carter Center). on Youtube. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw7TSYLRrmQ> retrieved 25-May-2012

http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/wer8337_map_ok.pdf