OPEN SEWERS, POVERTY, AND COLLAPSED INFRASTRUCTURE AID RETURN OF TROPICAL DISEASES TO U.S.

Financial Times:
When Martin Luther King led civil rights activists on a march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, he charted a route through Lowndes County in Alabama.

This sparsely populated rural area is one of the poorest places in the US. Some residents cannot afford wastewater sanitation facilities, and so must allow the sewage from their mobile homes to flow freely into their backyards.

Human waste lies uncovered in soil. Children play nearby. This is “America’s dirty shame”, according to Catherine Flowers, a local community activist and director of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise.

Flowers worries that the problems will only become worse if President Donald Trump cuts the budget of the US Environmental Protection Agency as planned by 31 per cent.

He has already ordered a review of clean water rules introduced under Barack Obama and plans to abolish entirely the Fogarty International Center, the global research arm of the National Institutes of Health.

Alabama is one of the five Gulf coast states that shoulder the burden of neglected tropical diseases in the US.

Some scientists say these are an under-appreciated problem in the world’s largest economy.

Among the parasites found in Lowndes County were helminths — intestinal worms that infect humans and are transmitted through contaminated soil, such as hookworm, whipworm and ascaris.

Comments