1. Mouthparts of the “Old World Hookworm” (Ancylostoma duodenale) and “New World Hookworm” (Necator americanus).
2. How those mouthparts attach to the intestinal mucosa.
3. The basic life-cycle of the hookworm - note that it likes sandy, loose soil, the same kind that is good for farming in the south - the farmers with the good land were always noted to be “lazy”, “slow”, or “sleepy”. This was due to heavy hookworm infection.
Chronic, heavy-intensity hookworm infections, due to walking barefoot near faecal matter, were once common in the south. In areas where the hookworms thrived, these infections, though not obvious, caused chronic anemia and nutrient loss. This, in turn, led to “laziness” (basic exhaustion due to iron deficiency and other deficiencies), diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, and kids missing school/having trouble learning in the first place.
Standard Oil saw a lot of opportunity in the relatively undeveloped south, but first, they needed to figure out why its citizens with the best land and (who were most likely to use new oil-run farm equipment) were so unproductive. Once the south underwent a massive sanitation initiative started by John D. Rockefeller in 1909, hookworm infection and its health implications began to quickly disappear. Latrines were built, shoe importance (especially when using the latrine) was emphasized, and the population was educated as to what they had to do to avoid infection and what they had to do to rid themselves of their current infections.
The campaign was a major success, and along with the foundation of better universities and emphasis on higher standards of living, the elimination of hookworm infestation was one of the most important steps in “Seeing the South Rise Again”.
Animal Parasites and Human Disease. Asa C. Chandler, 1918.