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Medicine Science

Developing World's Parasites, Diseases Enter US 337

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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  • Re:Close the borders (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:16PM (#29159715)

    Fucking the immigrants is a way to spread diseases, not to mention causing more of the immigrants.

    Besides, that "Fix it yourself" attitude is one of those things that is just short-sighted, and easily contradicted by the concept that the world isn't just a bunch of isolated islands.

  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @09:42PM (#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% []

    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 Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:09PM (#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 [] 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.

  • by beadfulthings ( 975812 ) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @11:30PM (#29160453) Journal

    There's a huge difference between "government healthcare" and "public health" at least as the term is used in the U.S. Public health traditionally concerns itself with disease control and prevention in communities of people--both small and large. It is concerned with the prevention of disease in entire populations as opposed to caring for individuals. Huge, enormous distinction there. If we're beginning to harbor populations with these parasitic diseases, we damned well want the Public Health Service involved and making recommendations for prevention, control, and treatment. We need them as watchdogs for occupational health, for control of epidemics (think Centers for Disease Control), and for identification and control of conditions that promote and cause diseases (dirty water, dirty food, the above-mentioned parasites). Even blatantly obvious functions like restaurant inspections fall under the general umbrella of "public health." It's short-sighted to ignore the conditions mentioned in the original article just because they're present only in poor or isolated segments of the population. They won't stay that way for long.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:46AM (#29160885)

    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 goods back to us, we suddenly and dramatically increased supply but without a corresponding bump in demand -- those third world countries that the jobs went to aren't as economically developed as ours are. They lack the purchasing power parity necessary to create a corresponding demand to maintain the price point of labor.

    Net result? The cost of labor in almost every market has fallen through the floor. It means big profits for companies that have infrastructure developed with our dollars and taxes, but relying on a labor pool several times larger. We sacrificed a short term profit gain for a long term loss -- infrastructure is no longer being maintained and America is now rotting from the inside out.

    We didn't do this to ourselves -- a few people who wanted to make a few extra bucks in the short term did, and it's cost us our future.

  • by s4m7 ( 519684 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:45AM (#29161159) Homepage

    they already cant turn you away if you are unable to pay

    Well that's not entirely true. They are in fact only obligated to provide stabilizing care for actual emergencies by the 1986 patient dumping law. Anything chronic is generally out.

    I've met a few people that go there for anything, on the public's tab.

    That's not exactly how it works. The government doesn't reimburse the hospital for patients who come into the ER but have no insurance. The hospital bills the patient. The patient either pays the bill or it goes to collections. If it goes to collections, and eventually the patient does pay, chances are the hospital will only see 25% of that money. The cost to the hospital of "ER Abuse" is distributed across the rest of the hospital and passed on to insurers and eventually gets paid by policy holders. So you're right to imply that the public is still picking up the tab, it's just only the insured, and not all taxpayers who shoulder that particular burden.

  • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @03:43AM (#29161731)

    As a point of fact, the US allows more legal immigration than any other country in the world.

    LOL. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, right?

    Sorry, you're a victim of a myth. On a per capita basis, the US accepts roughly the same number of immigrants (and/or refugees) as many western European countries, but less than other countries. By contrast, Canada accept far more. Hell, I think Greece has higher immigration numbers.

    And if you factor in the anti-immigrant rhetoric and attitudes prevalent across so much of the US (and the lack of such things as health care and basic social safety nets, I'd suggest that the US is hardly a welcoming place. That's been true historically and it's true today. In the past it was the Chinese, then the Irish, then the dirty Jews and Italians; today it's the Mexicans! The reason, for example, why the US has low immigration numbers and continues to spend less per capita on charitable foreign aid than most industrialised countries, is that the US simply doesn't like and has never liked foreigners, least of all when they try to immigrate. That is, until years pass and they blend into the landscape and we recognise them as citizens like everyone else.

    Granted, it's a big and wealthy country. So total numbers or dollars spent are bigger. But then, so what?

    As for the article, the immigration process does require a complete health check, so the issues related to the spread of infectious diseases are addressed. The problem, however, is that not everyone who comes here is eligible to become part of that process, and there is no free public health care for them or anyone else. Consider tuberculosis, for example. Mandatory screening when applying for a green card, but the rates of infection in the US go up by 20K cases per year.

  • Re:Close the borders (Score:3, Informative)

    by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @04:24AM (#29161923)

    When counting by percentage of population, Sweden would actually be pretty much on par with the USA (12.3% and 12.81% respectively). Germany's immigrants are 12.31% of the whole population, in Austria there are 14.9%, in Canada 18.76% and in Switzerland 22.89%.

    All of the countries I have listed do have socialized medicine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @05:36AM (#29162167)

    I had lymphoma and went through the UK system. I had paid up front through taxes, it is a type of insurance but without the profit motive. I got the best treatment from dedicated doctors and nurses. The treatment was the most up to date. I was also admitted directly onto the haematology ward when I got an blood infection. Their dedicated microbiologist cultured the infection and identified the correct antibiotic

    I paid nothing at the point of delivery, there was no one from the insurance company telling me what I could or could not have.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 23, 2009 @07:26AM (#29162527)

    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.

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Sunday August 23, 2009 @09:44AM (#29163147)

    And, had that happened to you and your daughter here in the UK, you would have received exactly the same care, you just wouldn't have to pay for it, other than through your NI taxes, which are considerably less than US insurance premiums (when the actual cost of the premium is considered).

    There are a lot a myths about universal healthcare, all of them regularly circulated by people like Faux News and the right wing shouty talk radio hosts, and Big Pharma and Big Medical who have a vested interest in keeping the US system the way it is.

    The myth that doctors, nurses, researchers and other medical professions under a Universal system don't get paid properly for their "trade" (in the UK, doctors are handsomely paid for their work) is a total lie. The myth that "the government decides whether you get treated" is also an utter fabrication.

    I am very sorry your daughter died and that sometimes, even with the current advances in medicine, that people sometimes can't be saved, but universal care is not the demon that the bought-and-paid for interests in the US advertise it as.

  • by Renevith ( 1556657 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @11:23AM (#29163731)

    Infant death is more common with low birth-weight and/or early babies. Lifestyle choices in the US, such as obesity and teenage motherhood, drive more low-birth-weight babies than in other countries. That has nothing to do with the health care system, unless you include "social measures" (in this case forcing people to adhere to your personal standards).

    The real test of a health care system is to control for those factors. Strip away the effect of the number of low-weight babies are born here, and ask: if you're going to have a low-weight baby, where is it more likely to survive?

    No one denies the problem. Our infant mortality rate is double that of Japan or Sweden. But we live different lives, on average, than people in those places. We suffer more obesity (about 10 times as much as the Japanese), and we have more births to teenagers (seven times more than the Swedes). Nearly 40 percent of American babies are born to unwed mothers.

    Factors like these are linked to low birth weight in babies, which is a dangerous thing. In a 2007 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists June O'Neill and Dave O'Neill noted that "a multitude of behaviors unrelated to the health-care system such as substance abuse, smoking and obesity" are connected "to the low birth weight and pre-term births that underlie the infant death syndrome."
    The National Bureau of Economic Research paper points out that among the smallest infants, survival rates are better on this side of the border. What that suggests is that if we lived under the Canadian health-care system, we would not have a lower rate of infant mortality. We would have a higher one.,0,7962367.column []

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:16PM (#29164119)

    Are you just a poorly designed AI that spits out buzzwords more or less at random? Because your posts get steadily more confused and less connected with reality.

    Yes, and the slashdot moderators are also part of the AI, which is why I always get high marks. The matrix has you man. Better start running.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @01:49PM (#29164789) Homepage

    I agree with you that healthcare is like a fire or police department. Neither of those, however, should be (or have historically been) federally funded. They, like healthcare, should be a local issue (if we're going to cast it in the light of a security issue at all).

    And what are we talking about when we're talking about 'healthcare'? Are we talking about prescription drugs for people who have lived poorly (diabetes) when they refuse to change their lifestyle? Should the fireman risk his existence to save the idiot who refuses to leave his burning home?

    If we're talking about epidemics and healthcare when it's a triage or similar situation (emergencies), certainly. But a pregnancy isn't an emergency, and neither is a preventable disease brought on by self-abuse.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!