Sri Lanka Mystery Kidney KillerIt’s mid morning and hundreds of people are squeezed under a banyan tree’s shady canopy to have blood drawn by just three nurses, working assembly-line fast. Others wait outside this dusty rural health center to get their vitals taken and give urine samples. Most of the 1,000 villagers have come here on foot and have stood for hours under the hot sun — not because they feel sick, but out of fear. They want to know if they will be the next victims of a mysterious kidney disease that has killed thousands of farmers in Sri Lanka’s rice basket. Many have watched neighbors and loved ones — some only in their 30s — quickly succumb to deaths after their kidneys gave out. In the worst-hit villages, it kills as many as 10 people every month. No one knows why. “In some cases, you only know if a certain person died of kidney disease after the autopsy,” says Kalyani Samarasinghe, 47, standing outside the health center with a handful of medical papers and a cotton ball taped to her arm. “If you get a pain in the stomach or something, then you think: Is it the kidney?” More