Hookworm in Georgia

II. Survey of Intestinal Helminth Infections in Members of Rural Households of Southeastern Georgia

Larry K. Martin Department of Parasitology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

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Using a stratified sampling technique, a household survey was conducted in 27 counties of southeastern Georgia in which 492 households (409 white and 83 Negro) were interviewed and 749 individuals (550 white and 199 Negro) were examined for intestinal helminth infections. Hookworm was found in 16% of the whites and 8% of the Negroes, the greatest prevalence in each race being in young adults. Hookworm infections were almost twice as prevalent in males as in females of both racial groups. Most residents of rural southeastern Georgia go without shoes out-of-doors, and 46% of the whites and 16% of the Negroes reported having had ground-itch at some time, although few had experienced it within the past year. Hookworm infections were more prevalent in individuals who went barefoot and who had experienced ground-itch within the previous year, although infections were found in persons who consistently wore shoes and had never had ground-itch. As many hookworm infections were found in individuals of households which now practice sanitary disposal of wastes as in members of households which do not; however, most of these probably were acquired before the introduction of sanitary facilities. Ascaris infections were found in 1% of the white and 12% of the Negro household members, almost all of the infections being in the youngest age-groups and most from households in which not all members practiced sanitary waste disposal. No Trichuris infections were found in Negro households, and only 4 cases occurred in the white group, all apparently old infections. The prevalence of helminthiases in southeastern Georgia continues to decline, but both hookworm and Ascaris infections will continue to be transmitted in the foreseeable future. These findings probably hold true also for geographically similar areas of other southeastern states.

Author Notes

Present address: Department of Medical Zoology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D. C. 20012.