Medicine: Mumu, Bye-Bye

Moving from the jungle was a native with elephantiasis . . . pushing a rude wheelbarrow before him. In the barrow rested his scrotum, a monstrous growth that . . . weighed more than 70 pounds and tied him a prisoner to his barrow.

Few descriptions of a tropical disease have revolted more readers than this passage in James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. In World War II, mumu,* or filariasis, which produces elephantiasis in its late stages, terrified U.S. fighting men in the Pacific as much as did the enemy. Some 15,000 U.S. servicemen were infected,...

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