Saut-d'Eau Success in fighting Tropical Disease

The community of Saut-d'Eau is winning the fight against lymphatic filariasis (LF). Recent testing of 850 schoolchildren revealed just one child was infected with thread worms that attack the lymph system. This good news means the University of Notre Dame (UND) in Haiti that operates the mass drug administration (MDA) program will in all probability attain the goal of eradicating LF by 2020.


According to program founder, Rev. Streit, the infection rate in Saut-d'Eau 13 years ago was over 44%. Nationwide 10% were estimated to have been infected. The latest round of testing by contrast reveals a 0.1% infection rate, nearly a 100% drop from results produced 10 ears ago.

The World Health Organization puts LF high up on the list of overlooked tropical diseases. LF is a disfiguring disease, in which the mosquito-borne thread worms settle inside lymph vessels, hindering them from battling bacterial and fungal infections. The symptoms of pain, fever, scarring, runny abscesses, and third-degree burns are made only more bizarre by massive swelling.

MDA has been administered throughout Haiti for three years, and earlier in Saut-d'Eau. Earl Carter, Assistant Dean of the College of Science at UND, commented ". . . by God's grace, this wretched disease is being eradicated from one of the more challenging environments in our hemisphere . . ." He credits Father Streit's persistence for the success of the MDA program. He adds donors have also played an integral role in accomplishing the success story of Saut-d'Eau.

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