Bug bites. Animal feces. Viruses.
Those are three of the ways that Third World diseases are being spread in the United States, particularly in slums, the rural South and along the Mexican border, Stephanie Simon and Betsy McKay report in The Wall Street Journal.
Yes, the headlines today are full of news that up to half the U.S. population could contract swine flu this fall. But George Washington University microbiologist Peter Hotez says that’s nothing compared to the likes of dengue fever or Chagas:
These are diseases that we know are ten-fold more important than swine flu. They’re on no one’s radar.
Now, as you might suspect, these diseases are not likely to be problem for you if you live in a suburb, where sanitation, insect control and veterinary care are routine.
However, in crowded slums, risks multiply manifold.
The health-care legislation in the House calls for a concentrated study of these diseases, but its fate is uncertain in the Senate.