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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?


Join The Conversation
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Health care for all who needs it should be the basics of a flourishing democracy. There is no way these kids will be taken care of by private insurance companies.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
The health gap between our affluent and our poor is a national shame.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Wow, you mean if you're poor and without proper nutrition and access to health coverage that you'll get MORE diseases???? I never would have made the connection. Thanks super-obvious study from GW!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I agree with you points flutterpie. I also think that with the astronomical profits that HMO's benefit from financially it would serve them well if they invested some of that back into targeted communities such as these by building schools, health clinics and providing education. By doing this on a proactive basis and not on a response to public out cry basis they would greatly improve public relations.
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
these sick kids need to get out and work so they can get health insurance, im tired of these disadvantaged kids with their parasites taking away from hard working americans....:ROTFL: just wanted to know what it felt like on the other side. anyhoo, i think alot of this is that these kids and their parents dont have access to proper education or health care, so what happens is they go to school and spread this stuff. our country needs to stop thinking that endless welfare is the only solution and to actually fix the system and pay attention to the needs of those less fortunate.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
My goodness you mean to tell me that the Health Maintenance Organizations which provide excellent health care are not taking care of these people? Interesting.
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