Tropical Disease Problems among Veterans of World War II

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  1. 1.A total of something over 500 veterans have been examined in the Tropical Disease Clinic of the Regional Office of the Veterans Administration, Winston-Salem, N. C., in the past eighteen months.
  2. 2.Of four hundred and eighty-four examined for intestinal protozoal and helminthic infections three hundred and nine or 63.8 per cent have yielded positive findings.
  3. 3.One hundred and ninety-one or 39.4 per cent have had infections by E. histolytica. With very few exceptions these infections have been accompanied by significant symptoms and disability.
  4. 4.Other tropical infections have been of much less importance. The incidence of relapsing malaria is rapidly decreasing; no serious sequelae of filariasis or schistosomiasis have been seen.
  5. 5.The most striking fact has been the almost invariable failure of the veteran to obtain an accurate diagnosis in advance of the investigation in the Clinic.
  6. 6.Of perhaps equal importance is the frequency with which the diagnosis of record has been psychoneurosis.
  7. 7.The findings of this study made of a selected group of veterans emphatically indicates the necessity for a competent survey to determine the actual importance of chronic tropical and parasitic infections among the total veteran population of the country.
  8. 8.The lack of adequately trained clinicians and laboratory technicians in tropical medicine and medical parasitology is reflected in the problems of many veterans and in the ultimate costs to the taxpayers.

Author Notes

Branch Consultant and Branch Section Chief in Tropical Medicine, Branch 4, The Veterans Administration; Professor of Preventive Medicine, The Bowman Gray School of Medicine, of Wake Forest College, Winston-Salem, N. C.