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September 1947


Author Affiliations

From the Thoracic Surgery Section, Kennedy Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1947;55(3):304-315. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1947.01230080310006

ENDAMOEBA histolytica, first described by Losch in 1875, has been long established as the cause of tropical liver abscess. The specificity of emetine hydrochloride in the treatment of amebic infection was established by Vedder and by Rogers.1 Recent articles by Ochsner and DeBakey,2 Smith and Ruffin3 and Klatskin4 have reemphasized the value, first recognized by Rogers,5 of emetine hydrochloride therapy in contrast to open operative drainage.

INCIDENCE  Endamoeba histolytica is probably harbored by between 10 and 20 per cent of the population, with twice this percentage in the returning soldiers from some areas. The incidence in these carriers of active dysentery is not accurately known. The incidence of hepatic involvement in cases of dysentery varies from 9 per cent in early, well treated clinical cases to 95 per cent in fatal cases. Pleural and pulmonary complications occur in from 5 to 15 per cent of