The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Third World Disease in the U.S.

Feb 5, 2018

Testing by the Baylor School of Medicine in Lowndes County, Alabama, showed that 40% of the residents were infected by hookworm.

Hookworm is a parasite that sucks the blood of the human it enters, causing iron deficiency, cognitive delays, and stunted growth in children, and anemia in all ages. It had infected huge numbers of people in the poorer parts of the country, prior to the 1950s, before indoor plumbing became common. The hookworm often enters the body through exposure to raw sewage.

The Baylor test was a small sample, and more testing is now proposed. Lowndes County is one of the poorest counties in the U.S. Average income there is $18,046 a year. In many places there is no connection to a municipal water and sewer system. People must pay for their own septic system, or risk the health problems of exposure to raw sewage. This county, in fact, has high poverty and lower life expectancy than other parts of the country.

Here are third world conditions despite the wealth of the U.S. It’s not impossible to provide safe water and sewer systems. Alabama found funds to convince three auto manufacturing companies, Toyota, Nissan and Mercedes Benz to start plants in Alabama. But the politicians cannot find enough funds to prevent serious harm to the population. The doctor leading the Lowndes County study said, “This is the inconvenient truth that nobody in America wants to talk about.”