"In the American South, an Inequity of Diseases"

"In Alabama, climate change and poor infrastructure provide hospitable conditions for diseases typically found in the developing world."

"On a muggy day in October 2009, Catherine Flowers stepped down the stairs behind a mobile home in Lowndes County, Alabama to find a pit filled with raw sewage. Mosquitoes and flies buzzed around, and a putrid smell hung in the damp air. Without any municipal sewer treatment or an onsite septic system, the owner of that mobile home had little choice but to pump waste outside. It had rained more than usual that month, so the pit overflowed. The sewage leaked through the yard and seeped into the soil.

As Flowers, the founder of the nonprofit Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise, examined the scene, several mosquitoes bit her legs. Three days later, she broke out in an expansive red and blotchy rash. Doctors ran tests for bacterial infections and allergic reactions, and gave her creams for the itch. But the tests came back negative and the creams didn’t work. After three months, the rash eventually faded away.

Flowers asked her doctor if perhaps the tests hadn’t focused on the right kind of infection, since the third-world conditions of the mobile home were unexpected in the United States. The doctor said it was possible."

Lyndsey Gilpin reports for UnDark June 29, 2017.

Source: Undark, 06/30/2017