Oct
08
2008

Elephantitis: not real. Elephantiasis: real, but on the ropes.

A leg. With elephantiasis.: Or lymphatic filariasis, if you will.
A leg. With elephantiasis.: Or lymphatic filariasis, if you will.Courtesy otisarchives1
Y’all know about elephantitis, right? Sever thickening of the tissue in the legs and genitals, to the point of developing massive, lumpy appendages (like and elephant, I suppose). Not a condition you’d want to develop, right?

Well don’t sweat it, kids and adults—elephatitis doesn’t actually exist. There’s a big weight off your back (and legs and genitals).

Unfortunately, this silver cloud has a rainy lining: while elephantitis isn’t a real thing, elephantiasis is. And elephantiasis is pretty much exactly what I described above, only it’s often mispronounced as “elephantitis.” Oh, fudge.

Elephantiasis, basically, results the body’s own response to some foreign agent—sometimes irritants in the soil, but usually parasitic worms cause the massive inflammation. And maybe the worms sometimes prevent it too… (for more on that, take a look at this Buzz post from last month)

When you get tight down to it, elephantiasis isn’t great to have. It hurts, and it makes life more difficult. Millions of people around the world have the disease, and about 1.3 billion people (a fifth of the world’s population) are considered “at risk” for contracting the disease that causes elephantiasis.

However, the World Health Organization is making a push to distribute a cheap and simple cure for the disease to all at risk areas (the effort was described in a BBC piece today). It’s estimated that the project has prevented 6.6 million children from developing the condition, and halted its progression in another 9.5 million people.

The treatment is based on a couple different drugs, neither of which are mentioned in the BBC article, but I’m guessing that it’s referring to albendazole and ivermectin. These drugs are anti-parasitic, attacking the worms that cause elephantiasis. Getting rid of your worms is generally a good thing, and it should prevent the development of elephantiasis, but I bet that—as the article implies—it won’t eliminate elephantiasis once it’s in its severe form. So, you know, catch it early.

The WHO program hopes to more or less eliminate elephantiasis by 2020. Although there are no known cases of elephantitis, I’m afraid that one may stick around a little longer.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Jean's picture
Jean says:

I don't know what's worse thinking about elephantiasis or reading about globsters while I am eating a delicious sandwich. Thanks for ruining my lunch J-Go.

Anyway, that's nothing that a nice pair of bell-bottomed jeans can't fix.

posted on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 2:12pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Globsters are not gross. And you know what? Neither is elephantiasis.

Except for the legs. just a little bit.

But I won't be held responsible for your lunch.

posted on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 2:46pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

wow. that was one interesting article.

posted on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 10:19pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

that is one ugly foot.

posted on Thu, 10/16/2008 - 10:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats gross

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 11:38am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I thought it was an elephant foot at first! But that's sad either way.

posted on Sat, 10/25/2008 - 6:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

bad infection bug.
elephant leg is bad.

i don't want to get sick like that.

isabelle
age 5

posted on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 6:31pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

iv wacth a show on discovery channel about thes it was varry intresting

posted on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 1:31pm
Coolo panda's picture
Coolo panda says:

That's a big leg

posted on Fri, 11/14/2008 - 12:24pm
sharpper's picture
sharpper says:

thats is a big leg i agree and i wouldnt want to be born with that or even get sick and have that happen to me.

posted on Mon, 11/24/2008 - 2:50pm
Tenzinn kyinzom <3's picture
Tenzinn kyinzom <3 says:

I feel sad for him. i mean walking round like tt must be really hard lol. well good luck survinfg long life to you!!!

posted on Wed, 11/26/2008 - 11:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats crazy! who did this happen to?

posted on Fri, 11/28/2008 - 3:56pm
bworm's picture
bworm says:

how uncomfortaable!!!!!!

posted on Tue, 12/16/2008 - 12:47pm
bworm's picture
bworm says:

wow scary :(

posted on Thu, 12/18/2008 - 10:49am
bworm's picture
bworm says:

i think its real. sure it may be caused by worm, that hasn't been proven. i think its very interesting and a bit sad.

posted on Sat, 12/20/2008 - 12:45pm
bworm's picture
bworm says:

This is very tragic. How does this take place?

posted on Fri, 12/26/2008 - 6:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that's nasty!

posted on Sun, 12/28/2008 - 3:59pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Thats insanium in the cranium dawg!!!!!

posted on Sun, 12/28/2008 - 4:00pm
Gabei's picture
Gabei says:

I think is weird i i thought it wasn't real at all at first.

posted on Fri, 01/09/2009 - 7:41pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I Guess Nike's For Christmas are out of the question

posted on Sat, 01/17/2009 - 4:47pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

This is all so wrong. Ewwwwww.

posted on Sun, 03/29/2009 - 4:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

It would be nice of people who take the time to read this took the time to realize that not all people with this condition live in third world countries. I'm an American who has contracted this condition, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.... I'm still in the early stages, I still get the strange looks when I buy size 15w shoes, and I'm 6' tall.... I can tell you how much fun it is to walk with what feels like a 50 lb. bag of dog food attached to each leg. And, the pain, that makes you pray for a bone fracture..... Trust me... Elephantasis is not something to laugh about.... Oh, and bell bottoms don't work, and giant sized Nike's are often on sale.

posted on Sun, 11/08/2009 - 9:21am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Thanks for sharing your experience—I think I've only ever read about the condition in a very abstract, impersonal way before. I think that part of the reason that conditions like elephantiasis can be so fascinating is that they seem so unusual and remote. But, as you point out, this is not necessarily the case.

posted on Sun, 11/08/2009 - 5:50pm
mya horning's picture
mya horning says:

what is the worlds biggiest thing that is living right now?

posted on Mon, 11/09/2009 - 1:16pm
Elgordi_83's picture
Elgordi_83 says:

I live in the USA and I also have this condicion.it makes me mad see coments here in this article because its not funny to joke from someones health for example ive been dealing with this conditin for 4 years and I am only 2o years old and what i hate more is not finding shoes or even wear shorts pants bacause of people looking at my foot and then look at me like if i was a monster it hurts me i would not even declare this illnes on my enemy :(

posted on Wed, 12/09/2009 - 1:17am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

IT'S VERY SORRY TO SEE THAT PEOPLE GET TO FACE SUCH THINGS IN LIFE.HATTTTTTSSSSSS OF TO THEIR BRAVERY THAT IN SPITE OF SUFFERING SUCH A DISEASE THEIR FACES DO NOT SHOW A BIT OF GRIEF.ALL I CAN DO IS TALK ABOUT IT THE WHOLE DAY BUT ONLY THOSE CAN UNDERSTAND WHO HAS IT,THE PAIN OF LEADING SUCH A LIFE.
KEEP SMILING U ALL BECAUSE GOD HAS SAVED SOMETHING GOOD FOR U DEFINITELY.

posted on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 12:40pm
Elephantiasis Diseases's picture

In BBC article mentioned that albendazole and ivermectin drugs are used for curing Elephantiasis Diseases. It is Useful to control the development of Elephantiasis.

posted on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 1:31am

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