Racial minorities have their own stories to tell about the new H1N1 pandemic.
Kelley Weiss/Capital Public Radio News
Antonio Magallanes moved to the US 40 years ago to work in the fields and as a landscaper. He says he worked whether he had the flu or not.
Antonio Magallanes moved to the US 40 years ago to work in the fields and as a landscaper. He says he worked whether he had the flu or not. Kelley Weiss/Capital Public Radio News
Kelley Weiss, a reporter with member station Capital Public Radio, reports on Tuesday's All Things Considered from Sacramento, Calif., on the hurdles posed for some Latino communities by a lack of health insurance and jobs that don't offer paid sick leave.
Antonio Magallanes, a 65-year-old retiree who used to be a landscaper, told Weiss, that he had to keep working no matter how sick he felt in order to feed his nine children. "I used to just make up some kind of tea or something and go to work," Magallanes told Weiss.
This summer, NPR's Richard Knox reported from Boston about higher rates of H1N1 and hospitalization blacks and Latinos were experiencing there.
A report issued in October by the Trust for America's Health, a non-profit that promotes health and disease prevention, said minority communities are among those at most risk of swine flu resurgence this fall.
The report suggests that the language barrier is a big public health hurdle for many minorities in the US. Only one in three emergency preparedness Web sites include content in a foreign language, the report notes.
Higher rates of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, in blacks and Latinos also lead to more flu complications in these communities. And minorities are less likely to get vaccinated against flu in the first place. The Trust for America's Health report says this could be due to the cost of seasonal flu vaccine, misunderstanding of the risks associated with flu and a historic mistrust toward the health care system.