Podoconiosis - non-filarial geochemical elephantiasis - a neglected tropical disease?
J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2009 May
Podoconiosis or mossy foot is a form of non-filarial lymphedema. This geo-chemical elephantiasis is a disabling condition caused by the passage of microparticles of silica and aluminum silicates through the skin of people walking barefoot in areas with a high content of soil of volcanic origin. Podoconiosis is widespread in tropical Africa, Central America and North India, yet it remains a neglected and under-researched condition. The disabling effects of podoco-niosis cause great hardship to patients. It adversely affects the economic (reduced productivity and absenteeism), social (marriage, education, etc.) and psychological (social stigma) well-being of those affected. Podoconiosis can be prevented; the main primary preventive measure is protective footwear. Secondary measures include a strict hygiene regimen and compression therapy, which can reverse initial lesions. Tertiary approaches include surgical management, such as shaving operations to reduce hyperplastic and verru-cous elephantiasis.