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Elephantiasis: Lymphatic System and Mature Worm

Oct 08, 1999 354 Words
I did my report on filariasis, which is

more commonly known as elephantiasis.

Elephantiasis is the late phase of filariasis. Filariasis

is a tropical mosquito born parasitic disease

causing obstruction of the lymph vessels. In some

people the presence of the worm causes a tissue

reaction that causes the lymph flow to be blocked.

This blockage produces lymphedema which is a

swelling and can eventually lead to a tremendous

enlargement of an extremity or organ. When

elephantiasis follows repeated infection, parts of

the body -- particularly the legs -- become grossly

enlarged and the surrounding skin hardens and

ulcerates. Certain types of elephantiasis can be

treated surgically. Elephantiasis of the legs is

usually treated with elastic bandages and frequent

elevation of the legs. The leg and foot, may swell

to elephantine size. There may be allergic reactions

like itching and localized swelling. The body may

also react by causing calcium tissue to be

deposited around the worm, walling it off and

eventually causing its death. In humans, the mature

worm lives tightly coiled in the lymphatic vessels

where they reproduce. The female holds the

fertilized eggs in her body. Later the embryos,

called microfilariae, are discharged alive. An

interesting feature of these worms is the periodic

swarming of the microfilariae in the bloodstream.

In most species swarming takes place at night. The

embryos can be taken up by an insect only when

they are in a human's bloodstream. They develope

into infective larvae in the insect, which is the

intermediate host. These hosts are various genera

of mosquitoes, notably A?des, Anopheles, and

Culex. Within 10 to 11 days after ingestion by a

human skin they migrate to the lymphayic vessels

where they mature and reproduce. There isn't

really any prevention to this disease. Bibliography

Drimmer, Frederick; THE ELEPHANT MAN;

Putnam Publishers; New York, 1985

"Elephantiasis", FISHBEIN'S ILLUSTRATED

MEDICAL AND HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA;

H.S. Stuttman Inc. Publishers; Westport, CT.;

1983 ed., vol. 2, pp. 527 "Filariasis", COLLIER'S

ENCYCLOPEDIA; Macmillan Educational

Company New York, Maxwell Macmillan

Canada, Maxwell Macmillan International

Publishing Group; New York, Oxford, Sydney;

1991 ed., col. 9, pp. 698-699

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