Microbes in the News and on the Playground

News article link above.

The New York Times article, “The Parasite on the Playground,” by Laura Beil highlights the parasitic helminth zoonotic disease Toxocariasis. Toxocariasis is carried by domesticated canines/felines and transmitted via the fecal-oral route. Although previously thought to be of concern only for rural communities, Toxocariasis is becoming a much more common infection in more urban areas. Because Toxocariasis is transmitted through exposure or ingestion of contaminated soil, playgrounds and parks have become a breeding ground for Toxocariasis and exposure to children has become especially concerning because infection can cause serious lifelong cognitive delays. Although, Toxocariasis is one the most prevalent parasitic infections in the world, about 16 million people in the United Sates have tested positive for developed antibodies, suggesting exposure, limited government research has been conducted.

Although, Toxocariasis has varied life stages, it is a parasite that causes an immunoreaction when infected, creating antibodies, which relates to our study of microbiology, infectious diseases the human micro biome.

The New York Times article is a great channel for coverage on mass media, with out mass media coverage, I think, news about infectious diseases would be limited to science journals and publications, limiting access and knowledge to the public regarding serious issues. I also think that the discovery of an infectious disease in New York City and it’s surrounding boroughs should be of great concern because transmission of the disease could create a mass outbreak which could spread quickly. Although it used to be thought that parasitic helminth diseases were once thought to be a  “third-world” problem and of little concern in the United States, the evidence proves otherwise. Referencing the article, concerning misdiagnosed patients due to lack of concern as a serious infections disease, Toxocariasis, usually goes undetected and untreated.

The fact that several areas in a metropolitan city tested positive for the parasite should be a major concern, my question is, why have we not heard more about Toxocariasis?

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