Hookworm Infections and Sanitation Failures Plague Rural Alabama

Hookworm Infections and Sanitation Failures Plague Rural Alabama. by Brett Walton, Circle of Blue, Dec 17 2015.

An excerpt – A measure of desperation and disease, parasitic infections caused by hookworms are seen by medical specialists as a powerful betrayal of civic progress. More than 700 million people worldwide, many of them children, are infected by a microscopic worm that left unattended causes serious anemia. In the United States, hookworm was prevalent in the Deep South around the turn of the 20th century until modern sewage treatment systems and better hygiene practices eradicated the scourge.

Or so it was thought.

In Lowndes County, Alabama, a young professor of infectious diseases named Rojelio Mejia has launched a “parasite expedition.” Mejia’s search comes in a part of the state, west of Montgomery, with failing septic systems, inadequate public financing for sanitation, isolated communities, poorly draining soils, and notorious humidity. The social and environmental conditions, in other words, form a perfect breeding ground for tiny organisms that lodge in the intestines of people.

“The whole source of infection is poor sanitation,” says Mejia, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

Read the complete article.

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