ANDY CRUMP, TDR, WHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDY CRUMP, TDR, WHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lymphatic filariasis. Fluid-filled tissue of the leg of a woman with severe lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). Filariasis is a tropical disease caused by parasitic worms spread by blood- sucking insects. The worms invade the lymphatic system producing thousands of larvae that spread around the body. Repeated infection causes inflammation of lymph vessels and accumulation of fluid, which can lead to enormous enlargement of parts of the body (elephantiasis). Treatment involves a course of the drug diethylcarbamazine, which is usually effective. Soap, water, and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection can also improve the condition.
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