This is scary!
A mysterious disease has become an epidemic in Central America after killing more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua since 2000!
Health officials are stumped as to why so many are dying and being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease at dramatically higher rates than any other country in the world.
There are two theories that may explain why so many people in the region are being affected. Many are blaming unchecked agricultural chemicals that workers are exposed to, while others are suggesting that mainly manual laborers are experiencing the kidney failure because the work is so hard on the body and they aren't properly hydrated.
Dr. Richard J. Johnson, a kidney specialist attempting to solve the medical mystery at the University of Colorado, told sources:
"This is a new concept, but there's some evidence supporting it. There are other ways to damage the kidney. Heavy metals, chemicals, toxins have all been considered, but to date there have been no leading candidates to explain what's going on in Nicaragua … As these possibilities get exhausted, recurrent dehydration is moving up on the list."
In Nicaragua sugar cane is a primary export and workers, who start as young as 10, are forced to work in the field for long hours. Possibly as a result of the labor practices, chronic kidney disease has more than doubled in a decade. There were 466 cases in 2000, but 1,047 in 2010!
Clearly, something needs to change down there! We hope researchers discover what is causing so many deaths the manual laborer population and the employers adjust their practices accordingly.