Hookworm Infestation in an Indian (Guaimi) and Non-Indian Population of Panama

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In the course of the routine hookworm campaign in the district of San Lorenzo, Republic of Panama, advantage was taken of the opportunity to make a quantitative study to show the degree of infestation in a group of Guaimi Indians. This report is based upon these examinations compared with those of the non-Indian (mestizo and white) population of the same district.

The non-Indians inhabit the low lands close to the sea and its estuaries; while the Indians occupy the foothill or sierra country. The former have a definite community life in towns or villages and the latter live as isolated family groups, with the dwellings at some distance from each other. The customs and habits that influence helminth infestation, are decidedly different in one respect for the two races: the Indians, owing to religious belief, defecate only in running water; while the others pollute the soil everywhere.