The Gulf Coast: A New American Underbelly of Tropical Diseases and Poverty

The recent finding that dengue fever has emerged in Houston, Texas—the first major United States city in modern times with autochthonous dengue—adds to previous evidence indicating that the Gulf Coast of the Southern US is under increasing threat from diseases thought previously to affect only developing countries.

Extreme poverty and a warm, tropical climate are the two most potent forces promoting the endemicity of neglected tropical diseases in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Now, these same forces are also widely prevalent in the five states of the US Gulf Coast—Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Read the rest of the article here

Ears of the Armadillo: Global Health Research and Neglected Diseases in Texas

Roughly one in five Texans (approximately 4–5 million people) currently lives below the poverty line, with South Texas counties exhibiting some of the highest rates of poverty in the U.S. In June of 2012, the nonprofit education and advocacy organization Research!America, together with the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) and several institutions of the Texas Medical Center including the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, and the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, sponsored a one-day forum that explored global health research, social determinants of health, and advocacy to highlight the impact of NTDs in Texas and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast and in the American South.

Read the whole article here

Texas and Mexico: sharing a legacy of poverty and NTDs

A consortium of institutions from Texas and Mexico has launched a new initiative for developing vaccines and other tools to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Mesoamerica.

The southern United States and northern Mexico not only share a border, they also share history, culture, and language. With its constant exchange of people and goods, the US–Mexico border region (of which Texas represents a large proportion) can be considered a single, unique, epidemiological unit with its own difficulties and challenges. Although Mexico and Texas have benefited from widespread economic development and with it improvements in life expectancy and overall public health, many diseases in a group of infections known as the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) still remain highly endemic on both sides of the Texas–Mexico border.

Full article here