Etiologic Study of Diarrheal Disease in Vietnam

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  • U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 Detachment, Naval Support Activity Hospital, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, DaNang, Republic of South Vietnam
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Bacteriological and parasitological studies were performed on stool specimens from 987 U. S. Marines admitted to a hospital because of diarrhea; more than one-half had recently returned from field operations. Infection with Shigella spp. was proved in 290 (29.5%) of the cases. Hookworm infection was found in 45 cases (4.5%), Strongyloides stercoralis in 5 (0.4%), Giardia lamblia in 26 (2.6%), and Entamoeba histolytica in 36 (3.6%). No specific pathogens were found in the stools of 555 patients (56.5%). Other diseases in which diarrhea was a main presenting symptom included Plasmodium falciparum malaria, tropical sprue, hepatitis, and heat exhaustion. Additional studies are needed to identify the many undiagnosed cases of diarrhea.

Author Notes

Present address: Metropolitan Pathology Laboratory Inc., Teaneck, New Jersey 07666.

Present address: Los Angeles County Hospital/USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif. 90033.

Present address: University of Chicago, Department of Microbiology, Chicago, Ill. 60637.