is elephantiasis a bacterial, virus, fungi or protozoa pathogen?
Elephantiasis, is a parasitic infection due to filaria worms--a type of nematode. Mosquitoes are the vector that carries the parasite. They must bite a person and inject the worm and bacteria in the worm which causes an immune response in the host. It is a tropical disease. Once the mosquito bites a person, its larvae migrate to the host's lymphatic system. Once there, they collect in the lymph nodes and cause a blockage of the tissue fluid--lymph. This leads to swelling in areas of the body such as the legs, and genitals although it can occur elsewhere as well. When the larvae mature into adult worms, they mate releasing more eggs which develop into larvae, continuing the life cycle. Another type of elephantiasis is due to contact with irritant soil that can cause a similar reaction. Treatment includes surgery for scrotal elephantiasis, but not for the limb. Drugs like Albendazole, which is used for a variety of worm infestations, is used. Ivermectin, a broad-spectrum antiparasitic, can also be used. Scientists are working on a vaccine to prevent this from occuring. Wearing shoes, washing feet and legs carefully are other strategies along with spraying the area for mosquitoes and using mosquito nets when sleeping, to avoid the disease vector.
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