A Death Caused by Ascarides

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  • International Health Board, Panama, Republic of Panama

In the course of the International Health Board's campaign against hookworm disease in the Republic of Panama, on August 26, 1921, in the village of El Pilon in the District of Montijo, Province of Veraguas, a baby girl twenty-two months of age died under the following conditions:

At 6:00 a.m. she was given ½ minim of the oil of chenopodium, and two hours later a dose of Epsom salts. There were no disagreeable symptoms in evidence at this time, but because the salts did not produce results within two hours, the microscopist who treated the child gave her a saline enema. In the resulting evacuation there were eighteen ascarides. In the movements which followed, innumerable ascarides were expelled.

About 5:00 p.m. the little girl became very weak. Several masses formed in her abdomen, and ascarides came from her mouth and nose. Many ascarides collected in her throat and some of them must have blocked the larynx, for her respiration ceased.