Endemic elephantiasis of the lower legs in the United Cameroon Republic

Trop Geogr Med. 1981 Mar;33(1):23-9.


Evidence for an association of endemic non-filarial elephantiasis of the lower legs with areas of red clay soils around volcanoes has been noted in several countries bordering the Rift Valley in East Africa. It was of interest to observe whether the association is also present in an area of endemic prevalence of the disease in West Africa. Such an area occurs in the Cameroon highlands where it has been suggested that onchocerciasis might be an etiological factor. The present study describes the results of a survey in this area. There was no statistical evidence of a relationship with onchocerciasis and the content of mineral microparticles in lymphatic tissues of the lower legs was again established. Climatic, geological and soil characteristics were similar to those in East Africa. It is considered that the disease in the two widely separated non-bancrofti areas is of similar etiology and it is proposed that it may be interpreted as silicosis of peripheral lymphatics of the lower legs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cameroon
  • Elephantiasis / epidemiology
  • Elephantiasis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg / parasitology
  • Lymphedema / etiology*
  • Male
  • Onchocerciasis / complications
  • Silicosis / etiology
  • Soil*


  • Soil