You ever hear someone say that you couldn’t walk a mile in my shoes? try walking a mile without shoes this is the reality in the Philippines, where over 16 million children are dewormed twice a year to eliminate intestinal worms because they do not own adequate footwear. throughout my travels street children would approach me for pesos barefoot covered with a thick blackness that looked as if they had just walked through the ash of a volcanic eruption. it’s heart breaking to know that if you pull out a few pesos you will be swarmed by a number of children that you cannot help many of us face problems everyday but not to the extent of worrying when will we get our next meal or will our child survive from a infection caused by us not being able to protect our child from the elements and protect their feet. I think back to my childhood and much of what we all seen and or experienced playing this little piggy or stinky feet with a toddler and in other countries children are dying from disease and parasites caused from not being able to afford flip flops some wouldn’t ever dare spend such a little amount on shoes from the dollar store. as I child I remember being made fun of for attending school with a pair of payless finest until I visited Manila I had no idea how fortunate I was.
Near the Chinatown mall, Binondo, Manila I understood why the puddles of water were black, why where pavement did exist why it was so sticky, and why in many areas had the smell of urine and feces. the snitch of garbage and waste would sit into your clothes and after traveling deeper you would notice that children and adults were relieving themselves in the streets. for more than one reason this is a problem but a major consequence is Soil-transmitted helminth infections.
Soil- Transmitted Helminth Infections
according to the world health organization these are key facts about the infection.
- Soil-transmitted helminth infections are caused by different species of parasitic worms.
- They are transmitted by eggs present in human feces, which contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor.
- Approximately 1.5 billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths worldwide.
- Infected children are nutritionally and physically impaired.
- Control is based on periodical deworming to eliminate infecting worms, health education to prevent re-infection, and improved sanitation to reduce soil contamination with infective eggs.
- Safe and effective medicines are available to control infection.
Soil-transmitted helminth infections are among the most common infections worldwide and affect the poorest and most deprived communities. They are transmitted by eggs present in human faeces which in turn contaminate soil in areas where sanitation is poor. The main species that infect people are the roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), the whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale).
Global distribution and prevalence
More than 1.5 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population, are infected with soil-transmitted helminth infections worldwide. Infections are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas, with the greatest numbers occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, China and East Asia.
Over 267 million preschool-age children and over 568 million school-age children live in areas where these parasites are intensively transmitted, and are in need of treatment and preventive interventions.
Soil-transmitted helminths are transmitted by eggs that are passed in the faeces of infected people. Adult worms live in the intestine where they produce thousands of eggs each day. In areas that lack adequate sanitation, these eggs contaminate the soil. This can happen in several ways:
- eggs that are attached to vegetables are ingested when the vegetables are not carefully cooked, washed or peeled;
- eggs are ingested from contaminated water sources;
- eggs are ingested by children who play in the contaminated soil and then put their hands in their mouths without washing them.
In addition, hookworm eggs hatch in the soil, releasing larvae that mature into a form that can actively penetrate the skin. People become infected with hookworm primarily by walking barefoot on the contaminated soil.
There is no direct person-to-person transmission, or infection from fresh feces, because eggs passed in feces need about 3 weeks to mature in the soil before they become infective. Since these worms do not multiply in the human host, re-infection occurs only as a result of contact with infective stages in the environment.
Soil-transmitted helminths impair the nutritional status of the people they infect in multiple ways.
- The worms feed on host tissues, including blood, which leads to a loss of iron and protein.
- Hookworms in addition cause chronic intestinal blood loss that can result in anaemia.
- The worms increase malabsorption of nutrients. In addition, roundworm may possibly compete for vitamin A in the intestine.
- Some soil-transmitted helminths also cause loss of appetite and, therefore, a reduction of nutritional intake and physical fitness. In particular, T. trichiura can cause diarrhoea and dysentery. Learn more
Travelers Witness The Importance Of Shoes
Travelers are being warned of the risks of walking barefoot on a beach “somewhere tropical” after a Canadian couple contracted a hookworm infection on holiday in the Dominican Republic.
The young pair from Ontario were staying in Punta Cana earlier this month when they returned from a stroll on the beach and noticed their feet were “incredibly itchy”. Upon their return to Canada, what they assumed were harmless bug bites developed into painful swollen blisters and unusual bumps on their toes.
The couple consulted two doctors who were unable to identify the cause of their condition, before they were seen by a third doctor who diagnosed the contraction of larva migrants – more commonly known as hookworms. The parasitic worms are found in soil contaminated with feces, typically in countries with poor sanitation and a warm, moist climate. as in the Philippines The disposal and treatment of human waste is a serious issue. The country’s National Sewerage and Septage Management Program (NSSMP) says around 55 people die every day in the country of nearly 100 million because more than 90 percent of the country’s sewage is not collected or treated properly. Only 10 percent of the country’s population has access to piped sewage systems which is over 30 million people in the Philippines who do not have access to improved sanitation facilities
“The hookworm larvae can infect people if their bare skin comes into contact with the soil – for example, if you’re walking barefoot,” the NHS notes.
The couple, had to be put on medication (a drug called ivermectin) and had to walk on crutches, Between 576 million and 740 million people in the world are estimated to be infected with hookworms.
The symptoms of a hookworm infection
- Most people infected with hookworm don’t have any symptoms.
- The larvae of animal hookworms sometimes get into the skin, usually after lying on sand contaminated by animal faeces while on a beach holiday abroad.
- These larvae are unable to go further into the body, but cause a slowly moving red line to appear on the skin.
- This is called cutaneous larva migrans and can last several weeks. It’s a bit itchy, but doesn’t usually cause any harm.
- People infected with human hookworm larvae occasionally have a less obvious itchy rash for a few days around the area of skin where the larvae penetrated.
- Respiratory symptoms such as a cough and wheeziness may develop when the larvae reach the lungs, a few weeks after exposure.
- Severe infections may cause abdominal (tummy) pain, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and anaemia. Blood loss leading to iron deficiency anaemia and protein loss are the most serious symptoms.
How can it be prevented?
“On a beach, the safest place to walk or sit is below the high water line – on sand that has been recently ‘washed’ by the sea. This is especially important in parts of the world where there are many dogs roaming around on the beaches – as is common in the Philippines and other countries in Asia . This also applies in Africa – but really anywhere where sand can be contaminated with feces,” Doctors warn.
“If you’re travelling to a tropical or subtropical region of the world where hookworm infections are common, avoid walking barefoot in areas where there may be contaminated soil, and don’t touch soil or sand with your bare hands,” the NHS says.
“Good hygiene standards and effective sewage disposal systems are the reason hookworm infections aren’t commonly seen in developed countries such as the United States, although they may still be a problem in California”
California “Poop Patrol”
Strangely yes this is factual there is actually a patrol for this kind of thing in California have you ever seen the ads for we have an app for that? well in 2019 there seems to be a app for everything including poop.
The city of San Francisco has its official SF311 app, part of its “San Francisco at your Service” program, and last year a private developer introduced Snapcrap, which allows residents to upload a photo of an offending specimen directly to the SF311 website. This alerts the city’s new five-person “poop patrol,” which will follow up, presumably, with a smile.
Then there are the maps. At least three maps charting the location of “poop complaints” in the city have been assembled, the latest and best by the nonprofit Open the Books. Their map shows most of the city covered by brown pin dots, each marking a report to the Department of Public Works.
The website RealtyHop.com dubs San Francisco “the doo-doo capital of the U.S.” They noted that the city’s poop reports almost tripled between 2011 and 2017.
The problem draws attention because the poop increasingly comes not from dogs but from humans. In partial defense of his city, Curbed SF’s Adam Brinklow explains that the reports submitted to the city didn’t distinguish between human and dog excrement, and that there were 150,000 dogs and fewer than 10,000 homeless people within city limits. But he admits that homelessness was probably the leading edge of the problem in San Francisco as well as Los Angeles, where 36,000 people live on the streets, and many do their business there. Poverty is roots that grow a tree of growing problems and to kill a tree that causes problems you must kill the roots.
by coming together we can prevent a situation in dire need that should not exist. by joining forces and creating awareness children of Payatas and the children effected by this situation can be saved from enduring infectious disease.