Serologic and Parasitologic Studies of Entamoeba Histolytica in El Salvador, 1974–1978

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  • Bureau of Tropical Diseases and Bureau of Laboratories, Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education, and Human Services, Instituto de Investigaciones Medicas, Rosales Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Serologic and parasitologic studies were done in El Salvador, C.A., from 1974–1978 to examine the reliability of the diagnosis of Entamoeba histolytica infection in an endemic area and to confirm the estimates of morbidity and mortality due to amebiasis. The results suggest that infection with E. histolytica is common, but the estimated prevalence is too high. Misdiagnosis occurring in hospital and public health laboratories was documented. Data collected from examining family members of persons with E. histolytica infection and disease indicate that most infections are asymptomatic, and support the hypothesis that estimates of morbidity and mortality rates are excessive.