The Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise worked with Houston's National School of Tropical Medicine to sample "soil and water...blood and faecal samples" from Alabama's Lowndes County, a poor rural area.
In a paper that will be submitted to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Houston team reveals that the county is plagued by "at least five tropical parasites," that result from a deadly combination of historic poverty and climate change's heavy rainfalls and high temperatures.
The dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine estimates that 12m Americans live with a "poverty-related neglected tropical disease," including people living in Houston's poverty-stricken Greater Fifth Ward" where few houses have mosquito screens and garbage heaps in the street collect rainwater and breed mosquitoes.
The numbers are rough estimates, thanks to a lack of funding to conduct proper public health surveillance. What little funding there is comes in part from the EPA, which President Trump has promised to eviscerate, slashing $54B out of its budget.
Among the parasites found in Lowndes County were helminths — intestinal worms that infect humans and are transmitted through contaminated soil, such as hookworm, whipworm and ascaris. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says hookworm was widespread in the southeastern US until the early 20th century and is now “nearly eliminated”.
Poverty, open sewers and parasites: ‘America’s dirty shame’ [David Crow/FT]
(via Naked Capitalism)