Medicine: Mumu

Among the horrors of war in the South Pacific is filariasis (rhymes with diocese), a mosquito-borne, hitherto incurable disease. It sometimes develops into elephantiasis, particularly of the scrotum. The number of military cases runs into the hundreds, mostly jungle-fighting marines who have been evacuated to U.S. hospitals. The Navy has described filariasis as the "hardest single thing" facing its doctors. But last week the Journal of the American Medical Association announced a drug which attacks the parasites causing the disease.

Called mumu by Samoans, filariasis develops from the worm Wuchereria bancrofti, carried by certain species of mosquitoes. Injected into the blood stream,...

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