Etiologic Study of Diarrheal Disease in Vietnam

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  • U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 Detachment, Naval Support Activity Hospital, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, DaNang, Republic of South Vietnam

Bacteriological and parasitological studies were performed on stool specimens from 987 U. S. Marines admitted to a hospital because of diarrhea; more than one-half had recently returned from field operations. Infection with Shigella spp. was proved in 290 (29.5%) of the cases. Hookworm infection was found in 45 cases (4.5%), Strongyloides stercoralis in 5 (0.4%), Giardia lamblia in 26 (2.6%), and Entamoeba histolytica in 36 (3.6%). No specific pathogens were found in the stools of 555 patients (56.5%). Other diseases in which diarrhea was a main presenting symptom included Plasmodium falciparum malaria, tropical sprue, hepatitis, and heat exhaustion. Additional studies are needed to identify the many undiagnosed cases of diarrhea.

Author Notes

Present address: Metropolitan Pathology Laboratory Inc., Teaneck, New Jersey 07666.

Present address: Los Angeles County Hospital/USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif. 90033.

Present address: University of Chicago, Department of Microbiology, Chicago, Ill. 60637.

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