For US Poor, Hookworm Persists

Hookworm was once rampant in the US—until treatment, education and economic development seemed to eradicate it decades ago.

Turns out, it never really went away.

A new American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene study uncovered the parasite in 19 of 55 study participants in Lowndes County, Alabama, an impoverished area where exposure to untreated sewage has led to hookworm infections.

The parasite can cause fever, coughing, diarrhea, etc.—and, in extreme cases, death. And while treatment is simple, long-term solutions are harder. “We can't prevent people from getting re-infected until they deal with their sewage problem,” hookworm expert David Diemert says.

Source: NPR Goats and Soda

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