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CDC Targets Five Parasitic Infections

Posted on Sat, May 24, 2014
CDC Targets Five Parasitic Infections

Neglected but treatable infections impact millions of Americans unknowingly

FRIDAY, May 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Five types of parasitic infections have just been labeled priorities for public health action by U.S. health officials.

The five neglected parasitic infections in the United States are: Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, and trichomoniasis. All were targeted based on the number of people infected, the severity of the illnesses, and the ability to prevent and treat them, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While parasitic infections can sometimes affect millions of people, they often cause few symptoms and go unnoticed. In a special supplement to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, CDC experts noted the large numbers of Americans who may be at risk. The CDC experts said that most parasitic infections can be prevented and many are treatable. But they most often go undiagnosed and untreated because people don't know they are at risk or infected, and many doctors, unfamiliar with these infections, fail to diagnose or treat them properly, they added.

"Parasitic infections affect millions around the world causing seizures, blindness, infertility, heart failure, and even death," Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC, said in an agency news release. "They're more common in the U.S. than people realize and yet there is so much we don't know about them. We need research to learn more about these infections and action to better prevent and treat them," he added.

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