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June 13, 1980

Parasites and Western Man

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1980;243(22):2341. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300480059035

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The Western nations seem to have more than their share of problems as the world grows smaller. These nine authors suggest still another—reintroduction (because of increasing international travel, arrival of large numbers of immigrants, and a decline in Westerners' acquired immunity) of some protozoan, helminthic, and arthropodous parasites into developed countries where these agents may go unrecognized.

In other words, in these developed countries, some parasites may be (all but) forgotten but not gone.

The authors' approach differs from that of some books on parasitism in that it examines the situation from the point of view of the practitioner in a developed country, not some distant tropical shore. Further, it offers advice about keeping parasitism in perspective. For example, no one likes to learn that they "have worms," but the explanation and treatment can be conducted in a way that avoids instilling guilt or psychologically jarring repugnance.

Prevention is emphasized,