Lymphatic filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis, is a painful and profoundly disfiguring disease. In endemic countries, lymphatic filariasis has a major social and economic impact.
In Africa the disease is caused by Wuchereria bancrofti. The male and female worms together form “nests” in the human lymphatic system, the network of nodes and vessels that maintain the delicate fluid balance between blood and body tissues. Filarial infection can cause a variety of clinical manifestations, including lymphoedema of the limbs, genital disease (hydrocele, chylocele, and swelling of the scrotum and penis) and recurrent acute attacks, which are extremely painful and are accompanied by fever.