Why The Gulf Coast Is Starting To Mirror Third World Countries

A delapidated Texas house.A dilapidated Texas house.

Photo: Flickr user rutlo

Tropical diseases, most of which you probably have never heard of, are running rampant in the poorest parts of the United States, a new article suggests.The warm climate and high rates of people living in poverty means the American South — South Texas and the Gulf Coast states — is starting to mirror third world countries in rates of these “neglected tropical diseases.”

These diseases include the mosquito transmitted dengue fever virus, parasitic infections like tapeworms, and bacterial and skin infections transmitted by sand flies.

California also has a problem with these types of parasites.

From The New York Times opinion piece by Tropical disease researcher Peter Hotez:

Among the more frightening is Chagas disease. Transmitted by a “kissing bug” that resembles a cockroach but with the ability to feed on human blood, it is a leading cause of heart failure and sudden death throughout Latin America. It is an especially virulent scourge among pregnant women, who can pass the disease on to their babies. Just last month, the first case of congenital Chagas disease in the United States was reported.

These are, most likely, the most important diseases you’ve never heard of.

These diseases are infecting mostly American poor and minorities: 2.8 million African-Americans were infected with toxocariasis and 300,000 or more people, mostly Hispanic Americans, with Chagas disease, the article reports. Diseases like this keep the poor in poverty, because they delay the mental development of children suffering from them.

He goes on to suggest ways in which we can rein in this epidemic. Read the article here.

See Also: 10 Parasites That Do Horrifying Things To People And Animals >

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