Amoebiasis is the general term applied to
infection of man by Entamoeba Histolytica, the
cause of amoebic dysentery.
This infection may occur without clinical
symptoms, or it may be characterised by diarrhoeal
or dysenteric attacks, or by any other symptoms
connected with the nervous or gastro- intestinal
systems. The symptom complex known as amoebic
dysentery is but one phase of Amoebiasis, and
dysentery occurs in but a small proportion of
infections with Entamoeba Histolytica.
Although the condition is world -wide in
distribution, the most severe symptoms and complications are most frequently observed in the Tropics.
Durban, the town in which I reside, is situated on
the south -east coast of the Union of South Africa.
Its climate is humid, it has a native and Indian
population of 150,000 most of whom live in the
surrourding districts and whose personal hygiene
and ideas of general sanitation are primitive in
the extreme. A large proportion of this native
community depend solely for a livelihood on market
gardening, their produce being sold in the Borough
Market. Another large proportion are domestic
servants in homes and hotels. It is thus not
surprising that the condition is the most wide
spread disease encountered in Natal.
As Honorary Physician at the King Edward
VIII Hospital, with 120 beds in my charge, I have
had exceptional opportunities of studying the
disease and its many complications. In the last
three years 382 cases have been treated in my wards.
In the present thesis, I propose to
summarise the irrportant work done on this subiect,
and to give an account of my observations, especially with regard to the treatment of the conditions
amongst the natives in Natal.