Top 3 Causes of Elephantiasis!

The 3 Main Causes of Elephantiasis are very important for the treatment of Elephantiasis . In fact, filariasis, filariasis or Elephantiasis is a parasitic disease endemic to tropical and subtropical regions of the planet, reaching the poorest regions.In these regions, it is a public health problem  , with an estimated 120 million carriers. The vector is a mosquito of the Culex genus and man is the only reservoir. There are three etiological agents: Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia nalayi and B. timori. In the Americas, the disease  is caused only by Wuchereria bancrofti, a nematode that lives in the lymphatic vessels of infected individuals.

It is also known as Bancrofti’s filariasis or Elephantiasis , due to one of the manifestations in the chronic phase, which causes excessive enlargement of the affected organ, similar to an elephant’s foot. The parasite has four different forms: adult male worm, adult female worm, microfilariae (which circulate in the peripheral blood  in man) and larvae (found in the insect vector). It is a parasite that is not transmitted from person to person.

Main Causes of Elephantiasis:  Lymphatic filariasis affects the system  and the lymph nodes, obstructing them, causing lymphatic edema and, in chronic cases, leading to the disease  known as Elephantiasis . It is caused by several types of filaria.

Subcutaneous filariasis is caused by other types of filariae, which occupy the subcutaneous layer of fat . In serous cavity filariasis, different types of filaria occupy the serous cavity of the abdomen.

In all these cases, the transmitters are blood -sucking insects  (in Brazil, mosquitoes of the Culex genus – mosquitoes or muriçocas – or Anopheles) that become infected when they bite sick people. Regarding the lymphatic form, the larvae of the filariae travel from the bloodstream to the lymphatic vessels, where they mature and after about eight months begin to produce microfilariae that appear in the blood  and other organs.

Elephantiasis symptoms: high fever , headache  , hives, intolerance to light, muscle pain , extremely dilated areas of the affected body , rough and thick affected tissue, ulcerations, inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, malaise and fat  in the urine. 

Elephantiasis Transmission:  When feeding on the blood  of an infected human, the mosquito engulfs the microfilariae together, which grow in its body and contaminate the next humans bitten.
The larvae are transmitted by the bite of Culex, Mansonia or Aedes, Anopheles mosquitoes. From the bloodstream, they travel to the lymphatic vessels, where they mature into sexual adult forms. After about eight months of the initial infection (pre-patent period), they begin to produce microfilariae that appear in the blood , as well as in many organs.

Within the mosquito, the microfilariae change after a few days into infective forms, which migrate mainly to the mosquito’s lips. So when the definitive host is bitten, the larva escapes the mosquito and falls into the bloodstream of man (his only definitive host).

Elephantiasis Prevention:  Avoid prolonged exposure to Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes in places where transmission still occurs. In Brazil, these locations are restricted to peripheral neighborhoods in the municipalities of Recife, Olinda, Jaboatão and Paulista, all in the Metropolitan Region of Recife.

Elephantiasis Treatment:  Elephantiasis is treated with medication, such as Diethylcarbamazine or Albendazole, and sometimes surgery is required to correct the lymphatic system .

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