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Haiti Program strives to eliminate diseases of poverty

Author: William G. Gilroy

A Notre Dame program aimed at permanently halting the transmission of elephantiasis in Haiti is having the important added public health benefit of significantly reducing the burden of certain intestinal parasites.

Hookworms, roundworms and whipworms may not be pleasant to contemplate, but the parasites infect more than 1 billion people worldwide, with the Ascaris species alone estimated to affect one-quarter of the worlds population. These helminth worms disproportionately rob those living in poverty, particularly children, of micronutrients, appetite and physical growth, impair cognitive skills, and leave some victims with weakened immune systems and life-threatening anemia. Some of these burdens begin for children even before birth.

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