LF: Lack of sex, role reversal and social stigma

That’s what sufferers of lymphatic filariasis go through every day.

A recent review looked at all of the research into the experiences of people living with  lymphatic filariasis (LF), or elephantiasis, and analysed the complexities of daily life faced by people living with LF-related disability.

LF is caused by infectious nematode-carrying mosquitoes biting a person, depositing parasites on the skin which get inside the body, grow and spread into part of the immune system called lymph tissue.

WHO defines disability in general as “a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives”, as it is a result of the disease and impairment themselves, but also disruptions caused to lifestyle and standard of living.

120 million people worldwide live with the burden of LF,  40 million of whom live with chronic disabling effects as a result of this parasitic disease, according to WHO.

WHO regards LF as the leading cause of physical disability in the world.

Researchers reporting in the journal PLOS Neglected Diseases reviewed qualitative data from the sufferers themselves and this is what they found.

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“I got worms”: Soil-transmitted helminths digest


Infection-carrying worms can get into our bodies, set up shop in our intestines and suck our blood. This family of dangerous parasites, and the infection they carry, are the reason why there are children who are eating enough but are still malnourished.

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