Volume 87, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Podoconiosis is a non-infectious tropical disease caused by exposure of bare feet to irritant alkalic clay soils. This causes an asymmetrical swelling of the feet and lower limbs due to lymphoedema. This swelling is called “elephantiasis” and may lead to severe disability of the patient. It is found in areas of tropical Africa, Central and South America and north-west India, where such soils coexist with high altitude, high seasonal rainfall and low income. Social stigmatization of people with the disease is widespread and economic losses are enormous. Podoconiosis is unique in being an entirely preventable non-communicable tropical disease. However, so far it has received little attention from health care policy makers.

[open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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  • Received : 30 Jun 2012
  • Accepted : 13 Jul 2012
  • Published online : 03 Oct 2012
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