Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poor People Suffer Disproportionately From Chronic Infections

Date:
February 9, 2009
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Kids from low-income families are much more likely to suffer from serious infections such as herpes or hepatitis A than their counterparts in wealthier households.

Kids from low-income families are much more likely to suffer from serious infections such as herpes or hepatitis A than their counterparts in wealthier households.

Two recent University of Michigan studies show a startlingly strong correlation between income and chronic infection in both adults and children, with lower income populations suffering much higher rates of chronic infections and clusters of infections than higher income families.

"There is a large body of research showing that people of lower socioeconomic status are at greater risk for numerous chronic diseases," said Allison Aiello, senior author on the studies and an assistant professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health. "In this study, we found that lower income populations are also more likely to be exposed to a cluster of persistent infections."

For example, in the context of six infections measured, results showed that while the higher income populations might have been exposed to one or two of these common infections, lower income populations in the same age range may have been exposed to as many as four or five. This is concerning since most of these persistent infections are carried throughout life and have been implicated in several chronic diseases, Aiello said.

For instance, researchers looked at H. Pylori, a bacterium that causes peptic ulcer disease; hepatitis A and B, which can cause liver disease; and herpes simplex 1 and cytomegalovirus (CMV), both implicated in cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and other ailments.

Similarly, there is a large difference in the prevalence of infection among people who hold only a high school diploma when compared to those who have a four-year college degree, Aiello said.

For instance, in the adults study, results showed:

  • Individuals without a high school education had roughly 50 percent higher odds of having an additional infection compared to those with a degree.
  • Those with a postsecondary education had 50 percent lower odds.
  • Low income was associated with 33 percent higher odds of additional infection.
  • High income was associated with 45 percent lower odds compared to the middle income group.

The paper examining children showed similar startling results:

  • Non-Hispanic black children are over twice as likely to be infected with H Pylori, and 1.4 times as likely to be infected with HSV-1 compared to white children.
  • Each additional year of parental education is associated with roughly 8 percent lower odds of a child being infected with H Pylori, and roughly 11 percent lower odds of HSV-1.
  • As family income doubles, a child's odds of having CMV decline by 21 percent; HSV-1 by 32 percent; and Hepatitis A by 29 percent.

"The primary infections and their long-term effects are both a concern," said Jennifer Dowd, principal investigator on the child paper and co-author on the adult paper. Dowd completed the research as a U-M Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar in SPH epidemiology. Dowd is now an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Hunter College, City University of New York, and the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research. The lead author on the adult paper is Anna Zajacova, research fellow at the Population Studies Center, U-M Institute for Social Research. She also collaborated on the child study.

The youth paper looked at children 6 and older and the association of infections with height-for-age and socioeconomic status with asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions. The adult paper looked at people ages 17-90 and the types, prevalence and clustering of infections in lower versus higher socioeconomic groups.

The studies are unique because they used data from Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a national study that is representative of the general U.S. population. The next step is more research on exactly what factors, such as exposure to chronic stressors and poor nutrition, lead to these disparities, Aiello said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Anna Zajacova, Jennifer B. Dowd and Allison E. Aiello. Socioeconomic and race/ethnic patterns in persistent infection burden among U.S. adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2009 DOI: 10.1093/gerona/gln012
  2. Dowd et al. Early origins of health disparities: Burden of infection, health, and socioeconomic status in U.S. children. Social Science & Medicine, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.12.010

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Poor People Suffer Disproportionately From Chronic Infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205154037.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2009, February 9). Poor People Suffer Disproportionately From Chronic Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205154037.htm
University of Michigan. "Poor People Suffer Disproportionately From Chronic Infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205154037.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

App Teaches Kindergarteners to Code

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) They can't all read yet, but soon kindergarteners may be able to create basic computer code. Researchers in Massachusetts developed an app that teaches young kids a simple computer programming language. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins