In the 1930s and 1940s, the Mexican origin population of San Antonio, Texas, USA, was desperately impoverished and inhabited some of the worst slums in the USA. Mortality of Mexican origin infants in the 1930s and 1940s was dominated by diarrhea, a cause of death identified with fecal contamination of the environment. The postneonatal diarrhea mortality rate (risk) was 48 per 1,000 Mexican origin infants, but only 7 per 1,000 Anglo infants. By 1970 this cause of death had virtually disappeared in both populations, but in the 35 years of 1935-1969, Mexican origin infants accounted for over 90 percent of all diarrhea deaths in the city. Limited evidence suggests that miserable living conditions without proper water supplies and sanitation in the densely settled Mexican American neighborhoods gave rise to environmental contamination which resulted in high diarrhea morbidity and mortality. The hypothesis is suggested that reduction of mortality from diarrhea was a consequence of specific community interventions.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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