Maturation of Ascaris Ova in Sea Water; a Possible Factor in Dissemination of Ascariasis in American Samoa

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  • Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, U. S. Naval Medical School, Bethesda, Md.
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The installation of latrine facilities of economical and easy maintenance among primitive peoples is a major problem in sanitation throughout the South Sea Islands as well as elsewhere. Stool surveys of widely scattered groups of native Samoans totalling 996 persons revealed incidences of A. lumbricoides, 86.4 per cent; T. trichiuris, 71.0 per cent; N. americanus, 18.1 per cent; S. stercoralis, 0.5 per cent; and E. vermicularis, 0.13 per cent. With the exception of about 400 people in inland villages all of the 13,000 native Samoans live in villages on the coast. It was noted that a one hundred per cent incidence of ascariasis obtained in several coastal villages where the latrine facilities had been considered sanitary and adequate for the population.

A universal practice among the natives of the coast of American Samoa in seasoning their food with sea water instead of crystalline salt was noted during the course of the surveys for intestinal helminths in 1940.