Children who belong to poor families carry an increased risk of suffering from chronic infections, according to two recent studies from the University of Michigan.
The 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,'' Aiello added.
In the adults study, results showed that 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 and high income was associated with 45 percent lower odds compared to the middle-income group.
The paper examining children showed that 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.
Jennifer Dowd, principal investigator on the child paper and co-author on the adult paper, said: ''The primary infections and their long-term effects are both a concern,'' said.
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.