Anatomy and Physiology II
Breckenridge School of Nursing- ITT Tech
Elephantiasis is a tropical disease caused by a parasite that enlarges the limbs (arms and/or legs) to elephantoid size. “Three kinds of round worms cause elephantiasis filariasis: Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori. Of these three, W. bancrofti makes up about 90% of the cases. Man is the only known host of W. bancrofti.” (Medical Dictionary) These worms block the lymphatic system from properly draining fluids from the tissue, thus creating a fluid build-up in those tissues, which then swell up to elephant size.
In many cases it can take years after the infection for symptoms to appear. The infection is generally spread through mosquito bites. Mosquitos are the main carriers of the filarial worm that carries the infection. Some symptoms of this are fever, thickening skin, pain in lymph nodes, and swelling of lymph nodes. “Current drugs for elephantitis can kill the worm larvae, or micro-filariae, but have no affect on the adult worms.” (Blog Spot) “In tropical and subtropical areas where lymphatic filariasis is well-established, the prevalence of infection is continuing to increase.” (What is elephantiasis?) Since there is no cure for elephantiasis, the best option is awareness and prevention. “A primary cause of this increase is the rapid and unplanned growth of cities, which creates numerous breeding sites for the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.” (What is elephantiasis?) The most numerous cases of elephantiasis are found in India and Africa, with the remainder in the Americas, South Asia, and the Pacific. Even though there is no distinct cure just yet, it is predicted by 2020 that there will be a world-wide cure. “The parasites responsible for elephantiasis have a population of symbiotic bacteria, Wolbachia, that live inside the worm. When the symbiotic bacteria are killed by the antibiotic, the worms themselves also die.”...
Bibliography: (n.d.). Retrieved from Blog Spot: http://causesofelephantitis.blogspot.com/2009/02/symptoms-and-treatments-of-elephantitis.html
Causes- Elephantiasis . (n.d.). Retrieved from News Medical: http://www.news-medical.net/health/Elephantiasis-Treatments.aspx
Medical Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved from FreeDictionary.com: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Elephantitis
What is elephantiasis? (n.d.). Retrieved from News Medical: http://www.news-medical.net/health/Elephantiasis-What-is-Elephantiasis.aspx
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