Three guesses on which blood suckers are costing the world somewhere between $2.5 billion to $138 billion each year. Vampires? Well, the Twilight novel and movie series portrays vampires as a bit more “emo” and “preppy” than vicious. How about vampires? No, there have been limited vampire economic studies. Vampires? No, repeating the same guess won’t make it correct.
The answer is hookworms. The numbers come from our study, which quantified the economic burden of this blood-sucking parasite across different countries and was just published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Currently, hookworm affects approximately over 500 million people around the world (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says an estimated 576-740 million people), and 5.1 billion remain at risk for getting infected. Why the range of costs? Well, every year is different and the bottom end of the range may be a very, very conservative underestimate.