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Elephantiasis: Swelling of Body Parts

Elephantiasis: Swelling of Body Parts
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lymph node blockage

Elephantiasis is characterized by abnormal swelling of tissue that leads to the enlargement of swollen body parts. Blocked lymph nodes, caused by mosquito bites, causes tissue to swell and the body part to enlarge. Elephantiasis is a very rare condition and it mostly found in warm, tropical regions.

What Causes Elephantiasis?

Elephantiasis is the result of a blocked or damaged lymph node. This occurs when a rare type of mosquito carrying roundworm larvae bites an individual and infects them with the roundworm. The larvae of the roundworm live in the individual’s bloodstream and continue to grow until they eventually block drainage from the lymph nodes. Blocking this lymph drainage causes the surrounding tissue to swell, and the affected body part to be significantly enlarged.

Types of Elephantiasis

There is only one known type of elephantiasis.

Elephantiasis Symptoms

  • Swelling of certain body parts (legs, arms, breasts, feet, hands, etc.)
  • Pain and stiffness in the affected area
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Malaise


Diagnosing Elephantiasis

A primary care physician can diagnose elephantiasis based on a physical examination and blood tests. Blood tests can confirm infection with the particular roundworm that causes the condition.

Treating Elephantiasis

Medications like Ivermectin and Diethylcarbamazine can kill the roundworms that have infected the bloodstream and this may gradually resolve the elephantiasis.

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