What Is Elephantiasis?
Elephantiasis refers to the abnormal swelling and enlargement of tissue, leading to excessively swollen body parts. The condition is incredibly rare and occurs as the result of damaged and blocked lymph nodes, caused by a mosquito bites. It is most often found in warm, tropical regions or third-world countries.
Elephantiasis occurs when a mosquito carrying a certain type of roundworm larvae bites an individual and infects them with the roundworm. The tiny roundworm larvae then live in the individual’s bloodstream, eventually growing and blocking proper lymph node drainage. Blockage of lymph drainage leads to the swelling of tissue, which ultimately results in the extreme swelling of the affected body part.
There is only one type of elephantiasis.
- Swelling of certain body parts (legs, arms, breasts, feet, hands, etc.)
- Pain and stiffness in the affected area
Elephantiasis can be diagnosed by your primary care physician based on a physical examination. Your doctor will likely order various blood tests to confirm that you have been affected with the roundworm that causes the condition.
Medications like Diethylcarbamazine and Ivermectin can be used to kill the roundworms that are in the bloodstream and gradually resolve the elephantiasis.