Campus News

Elephantiasis fighter kicks off diseases lecture series

Anyone who pored over ­encyclopedias as a child remembers nightmare images of people with limbs swollen like enormous tubers. What few recall, however, is that ­elephantiasis is an advanced form of a worm infection that causes a range of sickness in more than 100 million people worldwide.

A hero in the battle against this infection, called lymphatic filariasis, kicks off the second annual “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series at UGA on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.

Eric Ottesen, an award-winning physician and scientist, has devoted his career to battling elephantiasis and less dramatic manifestations of lymphatic filariasis. His lecture, “Lymphatic Filariasis: Science, Intervention and Beyond,” will be held at the Chapel and is open to the public.

“The physical disability and paralleled social stigma that come with this horrible disease put these people in double jeopardy: they are both incapacitated and shunned by society,” said Dan Colley, director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. “Not being able to work and not being accepted by others, they stop participating in life. They are left to suffer and withdraw from society.”