Deadly Parasite Spreading In America

Deadly Parasite Spreading In America

Francisco Turcios, Reporter

A Texas community is dealing with the spread of an intestinal parasite that inhabits the guts of humans and other animals and excretes larvae during defecation. The Guardian reports 16 residents in Rancho Vista, Texas — located within an hour from Austin — were notified that they were infected by Strongyloides after giving blood and stool samples to a noted university conducting a study researching the spread of the parasite. Strongyloides is capable of contaminating soil due to a sewage leak and surviving up to three weeks. It’s common for the parasite to burrow through the skin of a person walking barefoot, enter their bloodstream and lungs and rise into the windpipe, where Strongyloides are coughed up and swallowed. Rancho Vista has an estimated 400 homes on a small number of streets. Its population is mostly Mexican Americans or immigrants from Mexico, many of whom work in lower-paying fields, according to the Guardian. Residents say that despite paying high taxes, the town still deals with packs of stray dogs, which play a key factor in the widespread of parasites and swirls of trash, creating an airborne smell of sewage. However, more than half a billion individuals globally are estimated to be infected, which includes detected infections in U.S. areas such as Appalachia and Los Angeles County. Strongyloides — though, at times, symptomless — are the deadliest of soil-transmitted parasites as it’s capable of multiplying throughout the body and causing death in individuals with lower immune systems.