“Hidden Invaders” Documentary – BBC

Over on Get Brazil, there’s a documentary posted which apparently aired on BBC World late last year, which deals with verme (worms) that enter the human body and feed off the host. The problem is especially bad in certain regions of Salvador, where half of the documentary takes place. The first half deals with ringworm and the second half focuses on hookworm (in Minas Gerais). I believe the latter is called bicho de pé (foot bug) in Portuguese.

Here’s the description from Rock Hopper TV, where it is hosted…

“In Brazil, millions of people are infected with intestinal worms. Although there are effective drugs to treat worm infections, they’re not universally available and can’t prevent future infections. Now a team of scientists are trying to develop a vaccine against one of the most damaging parasites, hookworm. It will be the first vaccine against a multi-cellular organism.”

If it gets taken off of Get Brazil for any reason, here’s the direct link. Running time is 45 minutes.

My Take

Well, its definitely not a simple issue. Unfortunately the regions reflected in the documentary are poorer areas where health education is lacking, which leads people to keep hold of their old ways and superstitions rather than accept modern science. Second, new treatments are rarely cost-effective and the charities are too few and far between to help everyone. It could be said that a national donate-extra-pairs-of-shoes campaign might benefit the children of the affected regions more so than the actions of one charity. The other major thing that needs to change is the complete lack of basic sanitation.

As for the opening of the documentary, it tries to connect Salvador as a whole, to the worm problem and in turn, say the effect of the infections are seen in the natural low energy vibe of the people of Salvador…something a bit too generalized for my taste. Other than that, its interesting to watch.

3 thoughts on ““Hidden Invaders” Documentary – BBC

  1. Pingback: Quinzena Feb/1 « Eyes On Brazil

  2. Verme is actually all parasites not just worms.
    Ringworm isn’t a worm but a microbe.
    Hookworm is an intestinal worm like parasite. Though he can enter the foot and even the lungs he isn’t the bicho de pé. Bicho de pé is a flea. The female burrows under the skin (generally on the foot) and will feed on blood while she gestates her eggs. She lays them then dies.

  3. Ringworm patches form in a circular shape. The patch has clear defined red edges and a center of skin color. The name worm is misleading because no worm has anything to do with this disease. The fungus finds the groin area moist and warm and that is ideal for it to multiply. You can get the infection by touching somebody else’s ringworm, sharing towels, etc. animals also spread this disease. If you touch an animal suffering from ringworm and then scratch your groin area the fungus will infect you.”

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