Podoconiosis – non-filarial geochemical elephantiasis – a neglected tropical disease?


Prof. Dr. med. Pietro Nenoff
Laboratorium für medizinische
Partnerschaft Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen
Herrmann, Prof. Dr. med. Pietro
Nenoff & Dr. med. Constanze Krüger
Straße des Friedens 8
D-04579 Mölbis
Tel.: +49-34347-50-323
Fax: +49-34347-50-123
E-mail: pietro.nenoff@gmx.de


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.