• Brief

    • Elephantiasis is a disease that affects the lymphatic system (nodes and thin vessels that carry lymph body fluid and white blood cells to fight infections). The disease is caused by parasites that live in human beings and can spread from person to person through mosquito bites.

      Elephantiasis causes swellings of the legs, scrotum, and breasts. This parasite can be killed by a drug that is taken yearly.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Swelling of body parts is the most common symptom of elephantiasis. This swelling often occurs in the:

      • Legs
      • Scrotum
      • Breast
      • Arms

      Other noticeable symptoms include:

      • The enlargement and swelling of body parts can cause pain and limit mobility.
      • The skin of the affected area may become dry, thick, ulcerated, darker than normal, or even become pitted.
      • You may sometimes experience fever and chills.
      • Elephantiasis affects the immune system leading to a higher risk of coming down with other infections.

    • What are the causes?

    • An infection of roundworms causes elephantiasis. You can contract the infection when bitten by infected mosquitoes. The roundworms grow in your blood but mature in and damage the lymph system.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • Elephantiasis is a parasitic infection that can affect people of all age groups and gender. It occurs more commonly in Africa, Southeast Asia, India and South America. Common risk factors for elephantiasis include:

      • Staying or living in tropical and subtropical areas for a long time.
      • Living in areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes and being bitten by them regularly (e.g. not using bed nets at night).

    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Elephantiasis is a serious condition. If not treated in time, it may result in permanent damage of your lymphatic system and a disability due to extreme swelling and enlargement of the affected body parts. You must visit your healthcare provider immediately once you notice any of the following:

      • If you have been bitten by a lot of mosquitoes and you begin to notice any swelling at the bite site that doesn’t reduce in size.
      • There is a change in coloration or thickness of your skin.

    • How to prevent?

    • You can prevent the infection by avoiding mosquito bites. You can control mosquitoes by sleeping under long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), wearing covering clothes, using an insect repellant cream, keeping your environment free of low bushes and stagnant water, and spraying indoors with residual insecticide.

    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:

      You can do the following to help you feel better:

      • Elephantiasis can cause cracks in your skin to become infected with bacteria. Wash the affected body parts daily with soap and water and dry them well.
      • Regularly elevate the affected arms or legs when lying down or seated to reduce the swelling.
      • Care for wounds in the affected areas by applying medicated creams.
      • Exercise regularly following your doctor’s instructions.
      Treatment options

      • Your healthcare provider may give you medicines to kill the parasitic worms such as diethylcarbamazine and albendazole.
      • In severe cases, surgery to remove affected lymphatic tissue may be needed. Also reconstructive surgery for the affected body parts may be necessary.
      • Emotional and psychological support is often required.

    • Kulawa cares

    • Elephantiasis is a disease spread by mosquito bites. Take all necessary precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Get rid of breeding areas for mosquitoes, such as stagnant pools of water around your home. Make use of mosquito nets when sleeping and mosquito repellents in the evenings. Wearing protective long-sleeved shirts and pants in areas with a lot of mosquitoes also helps to avoid being bitten.