Interesting facts One of the most interesting cases involving Wuchereria bancrofti is in the case of Joseph Merrick. Joseph had grotesque disfiguration throughout his life that caused him to be the subject of many subjects. He is called "The Elephant Man". The reason for his nickname was because he was misdiagnosed with elephantiasis. Doctors believed that he was infected with W. bancrofti and that the disease progressed to elephantiasis. However, this was incorrect as further studies proved that he actually suffered from the rare disease neurofibromatosis. This disease causes tumors to grow on the nervous system. However, he is still known as The Elephant Man because of his first diagnosis, and a movie was made about him and his life. The 1980 film starred John Hurt and documented the trials and tribulations Joseph endured.