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UAB to hold sanitation health studies in region

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will be hosting a series of sanitation health studies in the region over the coming weeks looking at soil-transmitted helminth infections in children.

Utilizing funds provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UAB will be assessing volunteers between the ages of 2 and 18 for hookworm, roundworm and whipworm in Uniontown and Marion, with plans for similar clinics in Lowndes and Wilcox counties in the future.

According to UAB’s Jasmine Kennedy, Clinical Research Coordinator for the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, intestinal infections were once common throughout the Southeast, but decades of disease treatment campaigns vastly reduced those cases.

However, she noted, Alabama has gone without such a campaign in quite some time.

Kennedy noted that the prevalence of straight-piping in rural areas plays a major role in the spread of these infections.

Families will be compensated up to $150 per child that submits stool samples collected on three separate days and any child found with one of these infections will be provided treatment at no cost.

Further instructions and proper equipment will be provided during the study days.

“It’s important to know that a single pill…is used to treat this infection,” Kennedy said. “[But] if it’s left untreated, it can lead to serious health impacts.”

Kennedy noted that in children such ailments can affect body growth, memory and more.

According to Kennedy, the campaign has already enrolled about 200 children since December 2019.

The first clinic will take place Friday, Feb. 19 from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Uniontown City Hall.

On Friday, Feb. 26, the clinic will be hosted at the same time at the Berean Family Life Center in Marion – a second clinic will be held in Marion a week later, on Friday, March 6, at Heiberger Grocery.

For more information, contact Kennedy at 205-777-1447.