Food Handlers and the Epidemiology of Amebiasis

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  • Pacific Institute of Tropical Medicine, Hooper Foundation, University of California, San Francisco

The questions that have arisen in regard to the rôle played by the food handler in the spread of amebiasis, although important, have been based primarily on theoretic conceptions and not on well established epidemiologic principles. Comparatively few instances of either endemic or epidemic amebiasis have sufficient supporting evidence to demonstrate the definite causative factors involved. Carefully controlled experiments to prove or disprove the evidence relating to the direct contamination of food under practical conditions by the hands of food handlers, although of great need, are largely lacking at the present time.

Numerous surveys (reviewed by James (1) Reed (2) and Craig (3)) undertaken for the determination of the incidence of amebiasis have been confined as a rule to hospital patients or institutional groups and in few instances have food handlers received this attention. Adequate regional surveys should be made to establish the relative importance of food handlers in the spread of amebiasis.

Author Notes

In coöperation with Doctor J. C. Geiger, Director of the Department of Public Health, San Francisco, California.