Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans, like malaria and yellow fever, via a mosquito bite. However, unlike those acute infections, lymphatic filariasis may not manifest itself for years or decades after the initial infection.
The worms affect the lymphatic system in the body. The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste and toxins. If It becomes blocked, then it doesn’t properly remove waste. This leads to a backup of lymphatic fluid, which causes swelling.
The obstructive stage of the disease is called elephantiasis. In this stage, which may take years, there is a blockage of lymph flow due to masses of worms. Tissue becomes fibrotic and skin thickens.
Enlarged legs, arms, mammory glands and genitalia are classic appearances of elephantiasis.
LISTEN: Lymphatic filariasis in Nigeria: The battle against the disfiguring parasitic disease
In a video published by Barcroft TV recently, it tells the story of a Kenyan man, Horace “Forence” Owiti Opiyo who according to the video whose scrotum and penis grew to almost a meter long and weighing 5 kgs.
After a friend posted Forence’s story on Facebook, people took notice including the wife of the governor who had him taken to the hospital for two reconstructive surgeries.
According to the surgeon, Forence should have normal function in three months.