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Podoconiosis (nonfilarial elephantiasis) 

Podoconiosis (nonfilarial elephantiasis)
Podoconiosis (nonfilarial elephantiasis)

Gail Davey

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date: 28 February 2021

Podoconiosis is the lesser-known of the two major forms of tropical lymphoedema. The disease affects genetically susceptible individuals who go barefoot and whose feet and legs are exposed long term to red clay soils. It is found focally across tropical Africa, Central America, and north India where such soils coexist with high altitude, high rainfall, and low-income populations. Prodromal symptoms include itching and a burning sensation in the foot; early changes include spreading or ‘splaying’ of the forefoot and leakage of colourless ‘lymph’ fluid. Later stages are manifested by lymphoedema, which is usually bilateral and limited to below the knee. Studies examining host immunological and inflammatory responses are currently underway to improve possible future treatment options for the disease.

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