OVERGROWTHS, NEW GROWTHS, AND HEMORRHAGES.
Barbados Leg (Elephantiasis Arabum) is so named from its frequent occurrence in Bar bados. It is common in hot climates — the West Indies, India, Arabia, Egypt, China, and the west coast of Africa.
It consists of an overgrowth of the skin and connective tissue, attended by inflammation, and involving blood - vessels and lymphatics. The parts usually affected are the legs or the genital organs. The skin is so greatly thickened and thrown into folds, and the feet and toes are so masked, when the leg is affected, by the enormous overgrowths, that the appearance of an elephant's leg is produced, hence the term elephantiasis. When the genital organs are affected, tumours of great size may be formed, reaching down towards the knee or beyond it. Tumours of this kind weighing 100 pounds have been removed by operation.
Symptoms.—The disease begins by attacks of fever occurring at intervals, like attacks of intermittent fever, and accompanied by inflam mation and swelling of the affected part. When it occurs in the genital organs these parts are swollen, the pain is often intense, passing up the groin, and accompanied by vomiting and other signs of constitutional disturbance. The lymphatics may become dilated, forming blebs from which lymph may escape. With the re burring attacks the overgrowth of the skin gradually occurs, until the great size and re markable appearances already noted are pro duced. Large ulcers are sometimes formed in the skin, from which a foul discharge escapes.
The cause of the disease is not understood. Some are disposed to regard it as hereditary, while others are disposed to regard it as an affection of lymphatic vessels. Large numbers of a parasite (time Filaria sanguiais hominis—see p. 317) have been found in the blood of those • suffering from it. Climate, there is no doubt, 'has much to do with it—many believing it to be due to malaria—and the removal of the per son from the place where the disease prevails, if accomplished in the earliest stages, is one of the best means of treatment. Men are equally
liable to it as women, but it rarely attacks before puberty.
Persons may suffer from elephantiasis for years without the general health suffering, the increased growth being arrested, or slow over growth going on without recurrence of fever. The progress of the disease may thus be slow.
Treatment.—It is sufficient to state here that the best thing is to remove the patient from the district to some place where the disease does not occur. Europeans who con tracted the disease in India have recovered on returning to Europe. Removal must, however, be very early. The tumour may be removed by surgical operation, and this should always be done where it occurs on the genitals.
Disease (Ielithyosis) is an affec tion in which there is an enormous overgrowth of the scarf-skin. The true skin is also thick ened. Furrows are deepened, and thus the skin is mapped out into irregular areas, and the ap pearance of crocodile's hide produced. Masses of the overgrown cells may vary in colour, being of a pearly colour, or varying to brown and black. The disease is usually most marked over elbows and knees. Sometimes the only inconvenience produced by it is slight itching. The disease may be transmitted from parent to child, and commonly becomes apparent in the child at about two years of age. It is not fatal, but does not easily yield to treatment, though it may be improved for a time.
Treatment consists in frequent warm baths, and robbing the skin with oil, soft soap, &c., to soften and remove the scaly masses.
Leprosy (Leprosy of the Jews, Lepra, Ele phantiasis Grcecorunt).— This is the leprosy spoken of in the Bible, and is to be distin guished from Elephantiasis A rabum—Barba dos Leg. It was at one time prevalent in England and Scotland, but is DOW extinct. It flourishes in Norway and Iceland, the coasts of the Black Sea and Mediterranean, in Mada gascar, Mauritius, Madeira, the Greek Archi pelago, East and West Indies, Palestine, &c.