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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Dr. Peter Hotez discusses the effect of neglected tropical diseases on the elderly.
"This month, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases published a new study by Rowe et al. from Singapore on dengue fever in the elderly (> 60 years of age). Among their interesting findings were that the elderly had longer hospital admissions, and had higher rates of pneumonia and urinary infections. Overall, the elderly had more dengue hemorrhagic fever and severe dengue.
The Rowe et al study intrigued me enough to try and do a casual search for other papers on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and their link with older populations. The number of papers on the subject is modest but they are all interesting. Among the helminth infections, the elderly frequently represent an at-risk population for blindness due to onchocerciasis. Human hookworm infection is a soil-transmitted helminthiasis that exhibits heavy worm burdens among both pediatric and adult populations, and in the 1990s we found that on Hainan Island China it was the elderly who had the highest hookworm burdens and prevalence of infection."