Dictionary > Elephantiasis

Elephantiasis

Definition
noun, plural: elephantiases
A disease of the skin characterized by being thick, rough, hard, and fissured, like an elephant hide
Supplement
Elephantiasis is a thickening and hardening of a body part, i.e. akin to an elephant hide. It may be a symptom of a variety of diseases, such as elephantiasis nostras, elephantiasis tropica (lymphatic filariasis), nonfilarial elephantiasis (podoconiosis), proteus syndrome, etc.
In elephantiasis nostras, the disease affects the legs or scrotum. It resembles the filarial elephantiasis (elephantiasis tropica). However, it results as a complication of chronic lymphedema and not because of filariasis. Nevertheless, both of them results in excess fluid accumulation due to an impaired lymphatic drainage. Another nonfilarial-type of elephantiasis, the podoconiosis, is one in which the swelling is caused by an immune disease affecting the lymph vessels. Proeteus syndrome is a rare congenital disorder resulting in skin overgrowth and atypical bone development.
Elephantiasis caused by filarial roundworm is a complication of chronic filariasis, especially when the filariasis is left untreated for too long. Three types of filarial worms are associated with this disease. They are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori. They typically occupy the lymphatic system of the definitive host. The filarial worms spread from one human host to another through a mosquito vector that feed on blood of humans, especially at nighttime.
Word origin: Greek elephantos (“elephant”) + –iasis (disease, morbid condition)
See also:

  • filariasis
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • nematode


You will also like...

New Zealand Flora & Fauna
Ecology & Biodiversity: New Zealand Flora & Fauna

New Zealand is known for its unique biodiversity, caused by its remarkable geography and geologic history. Breaking away..

Biological Viruses
Biological Viruses

Viruses possess both living and non-living characteristics. This unique feature distinguishes them from other organisms...

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins - dietary sources
A Balanced Diet – Carbohydrates and Fat

Apart from vitamins, the human body also requires high energy sources such as carbohydrates and fats. If you want an ove..

Population Growth and Survivorship
Population Growth and Survivorship

This lesson looks at population attributes, regulation, and growth. It also covers population genetics, particularly gen..

Lentic community
Freshwater Communities & Lentic Waters

Lentic or still water communities can vary greatly in appearance -- from a small temporary puddle to a large lake. The s..

Pink Lotus plant on a pond
Freshwater Lentic Communities & Animals

This tutorial looks at some of the communities in freshwater lentic habitats. For instance, symbiosis occurs in a commun..