In order for the fluid that fills the intercellular spaces to remain balanced in quantity, it must be filtered continuously and mixed into the blood circulation. This fluid, called lymphatic fluid, is controlled by the lymph system. Blockages in the lymph nodes adversely affect the discharge of lymphatic fluid, causing fluid accumulation and therefore swelling.
In the early stages of elephantiasis, a person may not have any symptoms, but as the disease progresses, they may begin to experience swelling in the affected body part. Over time, the skin in the affected area may become thickened and hard, making it difficult to move or use the affected body part. The skin may also become discolored and develop ulcers or sores.
Elephant disease greatly reduces the patient's quality of life. It is a restrictive disease that affects their ability to move on with their lives as well as being discriminated against because of their appearance.
Elephant disease is among the most common diseases due to the presence of mosquitoes that transmit the disease in subtropical regions. It is estimated that more than 120 million people are affected by elephant disease worldwide, with most cases occurring in Asia, Africa and the Pacific.
Treatment of Elephantiasis
There is no cure for elephantiasis, but the disease can be managed with medication and supportive care. The medication used to treat elephantiasis is called diethylcarbamazine (DEC), which kills the parasitic worms and reduces inflammation in the affected body part. In addition to medication, people with elephantiasis may benefit from compression therapy, which involves wearing special garments to help reduce swelling.
As stated in every incurable disease, taking precautions and being protected are the most important issues to prevent the spread of this disease. As with malaria, care should be taken to wear protective clothing when traveling to risky areas.
If you want to learn about malaria, you can read our article "Malaria".
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global program to prevent mosquito bites, administer medication to people at risk of infection, and provide care and support to those affected to prevent the spread of this disease.
Is Elephantiasis Contagious from Person to Person?
No, elephantiasis is not contagious from person to person. Even if it spreads due to some factors, it does not have the characteristics of physical contact or airborne transmission from person to person like other infectious diseases. However, it is important to note that more than one person in the same community can contract elephantiasis if they are exposed to the same infected mosquitoes.