MEDICINE

Haiti Battles Elephantiasis

Haiti has launched a massive campaign this year to eliminate a rare and deforming viral infection among its 10 million residents. Lymphatic filariasis, which is spread by mosquitoes and causes the swelling known as elephantiasis, is thought to afflict as much as 80 percent of Haiti’s population. It’s just one of many little-known diseases that plague Third World countries, especially in tropical zones, but otherwise receive scarce notice. Many of the illnesses, including filariasis, can be cured with only one or two administrations of a drug, and pharmaceutical companies have helped by donating large quantities of the treatments.