The brutality and horrors of the Vietnam war are still gripping the souls of many, especially those who have encountered the region in those times.
As the Veterans of that war age and encounter the adversity that comes with, a phenomenon has been observed among those who have passed away, and those whose health is now compromised. Fears of undiscovered physical illness due to a parasite in seemingly healthy vets have surfaced, as the issue is one that can quickly go undetected.
A Trojan Horse Parasite
A parasite called a Liver Fluke has been labeled as a primary culprit for a relatively rare bile duct cancer, resulting in the deaths of Vietnam Veterans. Light of this has been cast by the Department of Veterans Affairs after a small study was performed, examining the link between liver flukes and the bile duct cancer known as cholangiocarcinoma.
Cancer occurs in the region of the bile ducts close to the liver, and on rare occasion, in the ducts of the liver itself. The parasite is often contracted by the consumption of raw fish and has been said to have infected approximately 25 million people.
Results of the study came from Seoul National University in South Korea. Sung-Tae Hong is a tropical medicine specialist at SNU. Hong’s results showed that 20% of the 50 blood samples came back positive for liver fluke. These results suggest that there may be far more veterans who unknowingly have this cancer-causing parasite.
Proper Coverage For Veterans Of Vietnam
It would seem that the Department of Veterans Affairs has their work laid out for them. However, an ArsTechnica article stated that “less than half [of veterans] filed for service-related benefits. It’s likely that many did not know that their cancer may be linked to parasite exposure during their time in Vietnam.” Furthermore, a disturbing 80% of veterans have been denied V.A. coverage for the service related issue. With 700 patients being seen for this epidemic in the last 15 years, action needs to be taken to address those veterans who may acutely suffer from the effects of the parasite.
Do you believe the V.A. should take more action to address the epidemic of this parasite among veterans? Let us know your opinion or experiences in the comments below.