Introduction to podoconiosis

Published on October 31, 2019   38 min

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It's a great pleasure to give this Introduction to Podoconiosis as part of the HS talk series on Neglected Tropical Diseases. My name is Gail Davey, and I'm a Professor of Global Health Epidemiology at the Brighton and Sussex Center for Global Health Research. I became interested in podoconiosis 15 years ago while living and working in Ethiopia, and I hope to convey this interest to you over the next 40 minutes.
So podoconiosis is the lesser known of the two major forms of tropical lymphoedemas. It's an endemic non-filarial lymphoedema of the lower limb, and is linked to long-term exposure to red clay soil rather than any form of infection. The disease affects genetically susceptible individuals who often work and live barefoot. As you can see from these pictures, it causes bilateral usually below knee leg swelling or lymphoedema of the lower limb. The term podoconiosis was coined by Dr. Ernest Price, whose name will come up several times in this presentation. He was a pioneer in podoconiosis research in the 1970s and '80s. Following his research connecting this condition and particular types of soil, he coined the phrase podoconiosis from the two Greek words podos and konos which mean foot and dust respectively. So this together implies that the disease is caused by exposure of the feet to irritant clay soil.