Brazilian man ‘turning into elephant’ after mosquito bite
The disease remains amongst the most crippling tropical infections and without treatment can cause debilitating swelling in the limbs or genitals.
It is transferred by a simple mosquito bite and can cause permanent disability.
Until now it was thought to be incurable but now a clinic in Brazil has developed a treatment that has raised hope of a cure.
In an episode of River Monsters, which aired on Animal Planet the other day, presenter Jeremy Wade met a Brazilian, called Raimundo, who is being treated for the disease.
The patient was bitten two decades ago and was subsequently infected with Lymphatic filariasis – the parasite that causes the condition.
Left untreated his left leg had swollen dramatically but treatment at Cunica Godoy clinic in Sao Jose Rio Petro has already made some improvements.
Aside from swelling, the disease can cause kidney and lymph node damage.
Once Elephantiasis is contracted, it is very difficult to control. In cases like Raimundo, who has gone untreated for many years, it will be a lifelong battle.