Forgotten Diseases Among Forgotten People

“If these were diseases among middle-class whites in the suburbs, we would not tolerate them. They are among America’s greatest health disparities, and they are largely unknown to the U.S. medical and health communities.”

Peter Hotez, a microbiologist at George Washington University, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Sabin Vaccine Institute and co-founder of the institute’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, referring to the handful of diseases that inflict people living in the American South, Appalachia and along the Mexican-American border.  The diseases include: Chagas, a leading cause of heart failure and stroke among Latinos; cysticercosis, which causes convulsions; and ascariasis, which causes abdominal pain and fever.  They are spread from insects and parasites.

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