Outbreak of Amebiasis among Indians in Northwestern Saskatchewan, Canada

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Summary

Examination of fecal specimens from 178 Indians residing on three Reserves in northwestern Saskatchewan showed that approximately 70 percent of these people were infected with intestinal protozoa. Approximately 31 percent of the persons surveyed were infected with Entamoeba histolytica; trophozoites or cysts or both were seen in the fecal samples. At least four deaths resulting from amebiasis occurred among Indians in Northwestern Saskatchewan between 1959 and 1964. A number of cases with acute intestinal amebiasis were seen among the 178 persons surveyed. No explanation can be given at this time for the apparently virulent nature of E. histolytica infections in this segment of the population. The very high rate of intestinal protozoal parasitism is undoubtedly a result of the very poor sanitary standards in the Reserves. However, no signs were seen of nematode or cestode infections.

Author Notes

Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Macdonald College P.O., P.Q., Canada.

Medical Officer, Indian Health Services, Fort Qu'Appelle Indian Hospital, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan.

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