The overt manifestations of LF—such as elephantiasis and male hydrocele—maim, disfigure, and socially isolate people for a lifetime. Filarial infection also renders tissues especially susceptible to injuries and a host of normally innocuous bacteria and fungi.
The Notre Dame Haiti program places equal importance on the prevention of LF as well as the provision of care for those that have been afflicted with it. Possibly the most physically damaging and socially isolating form of Lymphatic Filariasis is hydrocele in men. This disease is called “Maklouklou” in Creole. A hydrocele is a scrotal mass that is generated by an excessive accumulation of sterile fluid within the tunica vaginalis due to an overproduction or a decreased absorption caused by venous or lymphatic obstruction in the retroperitoneal space.
As a reference center for LF in Haiti, the Notre Dame Haiti Program has had the opportunity to serve patients from all over the country. Since 2001, we have performed hundreds of operations on patients suffering from hydroceles to remove the excessive fluid as well as the obstruction from the retroperitoneal space. Many talented medical professionals in the United States have been instrumental in these surgeries. However, the need continues as hundreds of thousands of men suffer daily from this disfiguring and isolating form of LF.