The Present Status of Hookworm Infection in Florida

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  • Senior Parasitologist, Bureau of Laboratories, Florida State Board of Health

Hookworm infection has rightly been considered the foremost parasitic problem in Florida. These parasites, introduced into the State from Africa, encountered the three requisites necessary for their propagation; equitable temperature throughout the year, ample rainfall, and sandy, well drained soil. These factors in an area where a large part of the rural population lived under poor economic conditions provided ideal opportunity for establishing a high incidence and intensity of infection.

Historical Background. Hookworm infection was recognized as an important medical problem in Florida as early as 1903 (3). From January of that year until 1909, an active anti-hookworm campaign was carried to the physicians and teachers of the State by the Board of Health. Accurate diagnosis by microscopic examination of fecal material was begun in 1909. The first survey was made in 1910, just prior to the one conducted in the other southeastern states by the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission (15), later known as the International Health Board of the Rockefeller Foundation.

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