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Medicine Science

Developing World's Parasites, Diseases Enter US 337

Posted by kdawson
from the different-kind-of-worm dept.
reporter alerts us to a story up at the Wall Street Journal on the increasing prevalance in the US of formerly rare, 3rd-world diseases such as toxocariasis, chagas, and cysticercosis. Health-care legislation pending in the House calls for a full report to Congress about the threat from this cluster of diseases, termed "neglected infections of poverty." "Parasitic infections and other diseases usually associated with the developing world are cropping up with alarming frequency among US poor, especially in states along the US-Mexico border, the rural South, and in Appalachia, according to researchers. Government and private researchers are just beginning to assess the toll of the infections, which are a significant cause of heart disease, seizures and congenital birth defects among black and Hispanic populations. ... 'These are diseases that we know are ten-fold more important than swine flu,' said [one] leading researcher in this field. 'They're on no one's radar.' ... These diseases share a common thread. 'People who live in the suburbs are at very low risk,' Dr. Hotez said. But for the 37 million people in the US who live below the poverty line, he said, 'There is real suffering.'" Update: 08/23 16:55 GMT by KD : The submitter pointed out that the usual "Related" link to the original submission was missing on this story. We are testing a new version of the story editor and this was probably caused by a bug; reported. Here's the original.
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Developing World's Parasites, Diseases Enter US

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  • by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:25PM (#29159303)
    to jack up the rating for House MD. Pathetic, really.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:27PM (#29159311)

    People are surprised by this? Our inner cities are rotting. Our economy is in shambles. People are living squallor and poverty on an unprecidented scale in this country. We're a breeding ground now for all manners of disease, both social and medical.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:45PM (#29159479)
      Well, half the voters don't even believe in public health. If the carriers of an epidemic are deemed unworthy of health care, the free market solution is to wait until everybody gets it, then treat those with money. Ultimately that costs vastly more than stamping it out in the first place, but at least nobody gets healthcare they didn't deserve, and isn't that the most important thing?
      • Well, I might sound evil, but don't hate the messenger:
        It actually is quite possible, in terms of natural selection, that in the long run, this would mean a more successful nation. Because only those who are successful, would survive.
        The first problem is, that money is not exactly what should be our scale to measure success and worth to survive. We can do better than that.
        And the second point is, that it would of course be even *more* successful, to pull them *all* up. But is that possible?
        The only thing th

        • You make an incredibly stupid assumption here by bringing in "natural selection". Natural selection assumes that people die because of THEIR OWN weaknesses.

          A successful person currently between jobs (thus no insurance) getting hit by a car driven by a stupid person and being unable to pay the bill to save his life is NOT NATURAL SELECTION.
    • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @08:00PM (#29159597)

      "People are living squallor and poverty on an unprecedented scale in this country."

      Bullshit. We are not near the poverty levels of the Great Depression, and the impact of poverty is greatly mitigated nowadays.

      Our bitter refusal to control our borders ensures the human carriers of "Third World" diseases are free to circulate.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Bullshit. We are not near the poverty levels of the Great Depression, and the impact of poverty is greatly mitigated nowadays.

        History disagrees with your assessment; We're circling the drain. Sequence of events [wikipedia.org] in the Great Depression:

        1. Debt liquidation and distress selling
        2. Contraction of the money supply as bank loans are paid off
        3. A fall in the level of asset prices
        4. A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies
        5. A fall in profits
        6. A reduction in output, in trade and in employment.
        7. Pessimism and loss of confidence
        8. Hoarding of money
        9. A fall in nominal interest rates and a rise in defla

        • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @08:42PM (#29159911)
          while you are reasonably correct on the causes of the great depression, you fail hard.

          1. is over already

          2. paying off loans isn't what causes contraction of money supply.

          3. if you want to single out houses as the only asset, then yes.

          4. yes, there's no getting away from the fact companies have taken a hammering

          5. most places have had a fall in profits, there are some standouts though. gold producers are one of them.

          6. here is your big fail. jobless rate in 1933 was 24.9% http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar03p1.htm [bls.gov]

          7. here is your biggest problem - doomers like yourself who are still claiming the sky is falling when their are CLEARLY signs of recovery worldwide.

          • by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:00PM (#29160011)

            here is your biggest problem - doomers like yourself who are still claiming the sky is falling when their are CLEARLY signs of recovery worldwide.

            I'm not all doom and gloom... Forty years ago we had a middle class. We don't anymore. We have rich people, and we have poor people... Just like the countries we've been shipping our jobs out to. One of the things that made America what it was is a strong middle class. That's vaporized now under the heat of globalization, and this is something that's come about because of the current economic crisis. Yeah, the economy as a whole may recover, but our quality of life will never be the same. For many people -- there will be no recovery.

            • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:18PM (#29160087) Homepage Journal

              I think the collapse of the US middle class is in large part the fault of the middle class itself. In a world of increasing sophistication, most people ignored it and didn't adapt to it, and they didn't instill into their children the importance of education. The idea that one can live very comfortably simply being unskilled labor was a foolish one that idea only worked for a generation or two. The economic hegemony of the US post WWII helped feed that idea, but part of that hegemony was sustained by malicious policies against other countries.

              Maybe globalization made that middle class collapse happen faster, but an unsustainable situation like that wasn't going to stay that way forever. Closing borders to trade usually hasn't worked out well either, all that does is incite reciprocal action.

              • by sjames (1099)

                College has gone from something only the wealthy attend to being quite common. The BA and BS are rapidly becoming what the GED once was.

                It doesn't seem to have helped. Unskilled labor was never an option for middle class. Skilled blue collar work was quite commonly middle class.

                The U.S. has seen a steady growth in GDP per capita. In spite of that, the middle class is disappearing.

                • by jasno (124830)

                  The BA and BS are rapidly becoming what the GED once was.

                  Are you high?

                  I'd love to see some stats. I live in California and most of the people I meet qualify as middle-class. I'm middle-class. My family is almost all middle-class.

                  • by QuoteMstr (55051)

                    50 years ago, one could be middle class with one income earner per household. Try that today.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                I think the collapse of the US middle class is in large part the fault of the middle class itself.

                Blaming the victim has rarely been a useful argument. It also happens to be a meritless one in this case. The middle class has disintegrated because the middle class has become a victim of a sudden change in market dynamics, brought on by decisions by our politicians and business leaders to initiate those changes. The labor market, like any other, is dictated by the laws of supply and demand. Demand remains constant but when we allowed companies to use labor outside this country -- to ship jobs overseas and

            • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:51PM (#29160563)
              We don't have a middle class anymore? What the hell are you smoking and where can I get some?
        • by Zemran (3101)

          "8. Hoarding of money"

          The price of gold per ounce has gone right up from $700 to $950 (approx) because people are hoarding money instead of investing in the stock market.

        • by GigsVT (208848)

          What the fuck is "hoarding of money"? Is that like "saving money"?

          We can't live in this Keynesian dream of everyone spending every dime of their income as soon as they get it. Its what made our economy fragile in the first place.

      • "We are not near the poverty levels of the Great Depression,"

        Nothing says the we have seen the worst of our current recession. Nothing says we won't see the desperation of the '30's again. The only thing that happened in the '30's that isn't likely to happen again, is the dust bowl. On the other hand, family farms are barely hanging in there because they can't compete with factory farms. If a few of those conglomerations go belly up, we could be in serious trouble. How much of our population are we wil

    • by Saija (1114681)
      Glad to see some sane moderators who changed your "Troll" to "Insightful" score
    • The USA really has giant contrast, that most people seem to forget about all too often. I mean there is Manhattan, there is some farm in the worst backwater hole, there is the nearly empty part, rotting of Detroit, there is Alaska which is mainly just forests, There are cities which still look like the hurricane that went trough them two years ago just happened yesterday, etc, etc. And most of it seems to be not shiny at all. It's really sad sometimes, to see the nation rotting away. And I'm not even from t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Yep, if you want to see the real effects of poverty and lack of health care just come to AR, right smack dab in the middle of the good old USA. According to my late sister's doctor they have even started using a new acronym for those that die from lack of basic health care "cattle" spelled CATL, which means "can't afford to live". The poor have to live on the cheapest (read fattiest) cuts of meat and basic filler like potatoes. They can't afford a dentist, which means the resulting massive infection caused

    • Nothing to worry about, really. This is just Mother Nature's way of enforcing population control. If we think it's bad here, just wait for Mother to get serious in China. The earth's carrying capacity of humankind is being severely tested, so we can expect more of this sort of thing.

      (turn on sarcasm here) Health care? Why fight the inevitable? Only the rich are truly fit to survive anyway.

    • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:09PM (#29160365)

      People are surprised by this? Our inner cities are rotting. Our economy is in shambles. People are living squallor and poverty on an unprecidented scale in this country. We're a breeding ground now for all manners of disease, both social and medical.

      And worst of all, there is a massive wave of over exaggeration plaguing the country! I cannot believe this was marked as 5 insightful. Poverty and squallor on unprecidented scale? Have you heard of the Great Depression? What facts and figures are you quoting? According to the US census at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty07/pov07fig03.pdf [census.gov] the poverty percentage has been at between 10 and 15 percent since the mid 60s. In 1959 it was 23%, so nearly a quarter of the population was in poverty!

      We're a breeding ground now for all manners of disease, both social and medical? Start with the medical. Based on what science? Tens of thousands dying of cholera is a sign of breeding disease. Random cases of strange medical ailments because people in 3rd world countries immigrated to the US is not. What is your solution, stop all immigration? As for social disease, since the founding of the country people have been complaining about various "social diseases" plaguing the US. Heck, the crazy temperance movement managed to get all alcohol banned as a cure for the various social diseases resulting from drinking.

      As for the decline of America, I've been hearing it all my life. First is was the Japanese, how they were much smarter and so much harder working than Americans, blah, blah, blah. Now it is the Chinese.

      And no, I hate to disappoint you but we aren't going to be the Roman Empire because I don't see any barbarians who are going to come and raze our cities. We do not decline so much as everyone else is catching up to us. And the only reason there is catching up is because almost everyone else was demolished 60 years ago during WWII. There is no fundamental reason that the US should be the sole military, economic, and political power for the rest of human history. If we were a bunch of evil jerks, the US could try and use its power to keep everyone else down. But we don't and good for us for that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moosesocks (264553)

        A great majority of Americans have thrown science and logic out the window, and choose instead to vote with their passions and emotions.

        If this isn't a social disease, I don't know what is.

        Keeping on topic, the healthcare debate is a great example of this, given that the right wing have successfully managed to convince the masses to actively protest against their own interests by spreading a net of thinly-veiled lies and passionate arguments.

        What sort of person would actually believe that the president want

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Amen.

        Thank you for bringing some sanity to that horribly cynical and pessimistic first post.

        Slashdotters: the modern world, the world we live in *right now*, is better than any point in human history in every measurable way. That is a simple fact.

        Yes, you're concerned about people below the poverty line now. So am I. But you have to realize that modern Americans in *poverty* have far more luxuries than the richest man on earth 200 years ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jd (1658)

      It makes very little difference whether it is unprecedented or not. Diseases need ONE carrier. That is sufficient.

      Start looking at the numbers (over a million undocumented, uninsured and entirely legal US citizens live homeless in the New York subway system, and most cities don't bother to try and estimate any more).

      Now look at the total in the US who are considered to be living below a living wage (which is a good deal higher than the so-called "poverty line" but is still the minimum for basic nutritional

  • Close the borders (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:30PM (#29159355)

    Every time I turn around the US government is finding new and innovative ideas in fomenting anti-immigrant sentiment. Scratch that. The US government is using the same old tried and true methods of fomenting anti-immigrant sentiment. They steal jobs. They bring crime. They bring disease. It's the same old song and dance.

    In a world of modern transportation, it is essentially impossible to screen every person who crosses into our country for diseases. The solution isn't more border patrols on the Tex-Mex border, it's better healthcare for those who can't afford it. If the at-risk groups are the border towns and poverty-stricken, it makes sense to help them rather than try to cut off the flow of immigrants.

    I used to fly internationally all the time, but with the growing anti-immigrant policies of the US, I find myself having a worse and worse time traveling even though I am a US citizen. The TSA and Immigration Control have made flying a mode of travel that is completely unattractive.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by toppavak (943659)
      Really? I travel internationally at least once a year and this is news to me. Aside from putting my shoes through the x-ray (oh boo-hoo you have to spend 30 seconds taking off your shoes) and the exact same 30 seconds it takes at the immigration counter (ok, the lines can be annoying though) I've never run into anything that makes "flying a mode of travel that is completely unattractive" especially since its still a lot faster, quite affordable and not entirely uncomfortable (Its been my experience that its
      • by Ritchie70 (860516)

        I agree, travel has actually gotten better in some ways since 9/11.

        I have never traveled internationally, but the domestic security folks are a lot more competent than they were before the TSA. And they're more accustomed to people who set off the alarm.

        My wife has some joints that were replaced, so she can keep "trying again" with the metal detector forever, she's going to beep.

        On our honeymoon (in 2000) the security guards at O'Hare Airport couldn't even successfully communicate what they wanted her to do

        • by Zemran (3101)

          It is annoying because most of it is theatre. I do agree that security has improved a bit but I not see why you had to take your laptop out and put it in a different tray to be x-rayed, are they saying that the x-ray machine cannot see through the laptop case? Why is it that I can put a bottle full of liquid in my hold luggage but I cannot carry a drink of water onto the plane? No one has successfully blown up a plane with a drink of water but there have been plenty of bombs in the hold. Even when you t

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TheGreenNuke (1612943)

      The solution isn't more border patrols on the Tex-Mex border, it's better healthcare for those who can't afford it.

      But if they still can't afford what difference will it make if it's better? While I understand what you mean, your actual words help point out the true underlying cause, the cost of healthcare has risen out of control.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772)

      They are also diseases that are common among immigrants, and that follow them in.

      They may be old arguments, but that doesn't detract from their indisputable accuracy.

      Particularly with these diseases which were previously unique to areas that immigrants come from. It is eminently clear where the disease is being sourced from.

      The diseases are not ones that can be effectively treated by healthcare, there is no cure/effective treatment known to most of these diseases, the prognosis is not good, if you

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mysidia (191772)

      In a world of modern transportation, it is essentially impossible to screen every person who crosses into our country for diseases.

      Sure, it's possible, but requires further inconveniencing people who wish to cross, and reducing the throughput (the rate at which people are legally allowed to cross borders). And might have a negative impact on tourists, if it took them several days waiting in line to get screened and admitted.

      It is also more expensive (the most likely reason it's not actually done) an

    • Every time I turn around the US government is finding new and innovative ideas in fomenting anti-immigrant sentiment.

      Last I checked, the US allows over one million legal immigrants into the country every year. If that's "anti-immigrant", then the government sucks at it.

      ...The solution isn't more border patrols on the Tex-Mex border,...

      Wait, what does border patrol have to do with immigrants? Or are you now talking about illegal immigrants?

      ...They bring disease...

      If you are talking about illegal immigrants, the problem is that they might very well be the source of these diseases. The problem is we can't tell for sure, since they have ignored our immigration laws and waltzed right in without being checked ou

  • Natural Selection (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667)

    You want globalization? Well here it comes. You don't want globalization? Well here it comes anyways. Attention citizens of the cosmos: be prepared for a brutal culling of the herd. Nothing personal, it's just the mechanics of the universe.

  • by gardyloo (512791) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:44PM (#29159467)

    ...had shut off all seaports and airports sooner.

  • I, for one, welcome our new parasite overlords! Parasite Rex gives unto us that ultimate in human values: vibrance - yea a veritable cornucopia of ecological foment that is by the body of an AIDS patient.
  • by russlar (1122455) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:50PM (#29159531)
    It's that new flu strain I keep hearing about, the H1B flu!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      It's that new flu strain I keep hearing about, the H1B flu!

      It's real: I got hit so bad, I had to take a year off.
           

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @08:02PM (#29159615) Journal

    Aiy captain, I be gotten scurvy!

  • Thank God for HMOs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MartinSchou (1360093) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @08:04PM (#29159633)

    Well, at least there are no government bureaucrats standing between the sick people and the doctors who could detect and treat these diseases.

    USA, USA, USA!

    Or something ... it is quite disappointing to see the world's richest country with what is at times the best health care in the world unable to keep simple infections and parasites from affecting a large portion of its population.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkf (304284)

      Well, at least there are no government bureaucrats standing between the sick people and the doctors who could detect and treat these diseases.

      Sure. You've got private bureaucrats instead. More cost, less accountability. Tell me again how it's better.

  • by cenc (1310167) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @08:05PM (#29159637) Homepage

    I am sorry. Invasive species and diseases have been entering the U.S. since the first pilgrims got off the boat with their pock infested blankets. The U.S. has always turned a blind eye to the poor dying of them, until they spread to the middle class and rich. Now congress thinks this is an emergency?

    I think author of this article needs to spend sometime getting to know their American history book. The only thing that has changed is there is now more poor. How about treating that disease?

  • Rich (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindbrane (1548037)
    Remember the end of 'War of the Worlds'? IIRC, at least in the old film, the narrator speaks of God in His wisdom populating our little blue planet with microbes that defeat an invading alien horde that we with all our military might and technology can't stand against. If, of the 5 (Pollution) Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pestilence should be the big winner then the irony of it all playing off the end of the 'War of the Worlds' will be a sauce so rich and thick in irony as to be perfectly suited to Pestilenc
  • This is one reason why having an actual immigration policy and enforcing it. Most countries in the world do this, but for some reason the US doesn't.

  • neglected infections of poverty

    How pathetically Politically Correct can we possibly be?

  • by jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@gmaCHICAGOil.com minus city> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:11PM (#29160673) Journal

    The infantile death rate in the US is one of the highest in developed countries.

    A significant portion of your population is affected by diseases that are mostly present in third-world countries and can be handled easily with proper health care and social measures.

    And some of you still think universal health care is a bad idea?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We count ALL infant deaths. Most countries don't count deaths of babies born prematurely, and some places don't even count it if they die within the first few months (like Cuba.)

      Hardly a fair comparison.

  • Irony (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:11PM (#29160675) Homepage Journal

    500 Years ago, Europeans came to the western hemisphere and brought all kinds of diseases that the native population had no immunity against. Now, the descendants of those Europeans are getting diseases for which they have no immunity from the descendants of the natives from so long ago...

    LK

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