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Expert: Worms and Parasites Can Perpetuate US Poverty


Disease caused by worms and parasites, which negatively impact child development and contribute to heart disease, disproportionately infect America's poor.

Dr. Peter Hotez, who works for George Washington University and the Sabin Vaccine Institute, studied nine parasitic diseases affecting 10 million Americans. His research found that the diseases occur predominately in "people of color living in the Mississippi Delta and elsewhere in the American South, in disadvantaged areas, and in the US-Mexico borderlands, as well as in certain immigrant populations and disadvantaged white populations living in Appalachia."

Hotez concludes that like malaria did last century, these diseases could produce a generation of weak unproductive adults, furthering the cycle of poverty. In addition, climate change could lead to a wider spread of diseases like dengue fever, more common to the developing world.

What should the US do to decrease the health gap between rich and the poor? Should health considerations be treated like equality efforts in other areas, like education?

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