Mystery Kidney Disease in Central America

This week my radio story was broadcast on Public Radio International’s “The World.” This was an effort of a reporting project from The Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Please read the excellent article written by Sasha Chavkin and Ronnie Greene for a more in-depth investigation of the story.

The following is an excerpt from the radio piece:

A mysterious epidemic is sweeping Central America – it’s the second biggest cause of death among men in El Salvador, and in Nicaragua it’s a bigger killer of men than HIV and diabetes combined.

It’s unexplained but the latest theory is that the victims are literally working themselves to death.

In the western lowlands of Nicaragua, in a region of vast sugarcane fields, sits the tiny community of La Isla. The small houses are a patchwork of concrete and wood. Pieces of cloth serve as doors.

Maudiel Martinez emerges from his house. He’s pale, and his cheekbones protrude from his face. He hunches over like an old man – but he is only 19-years-old.

“The way this sickness is – you see me now, but in a month I could be gone. It can take you down all of a sudden,” he said.

The story was also published here:

PBS NewsHour online

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/globalhealth/july-dec11/kidney_12-13.html

BBC News in English and Spanish

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16007129

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2011/12/111213_enfermedad_renal_centroamerica_men.shtml

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About almadeelsalvador

I am a multimedia journalist working in San Salvador, El Salvador.

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