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East And Central Africa (Amoebic Dysentery)

Volume 409: debated on Tuesday 10 April 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his medical advisers have any statistics giving the incidence of cases of amœbic dysentery in the East African colonies from below Egypt to the Cape; whether any modern research has been undertaken in the past decade on this problem, comparing native and European incidence; whether any report or results of any research investigations have been published or have reached his Department; and whether treatment not only by ipecacuanha products but also by the more recently discovered sulphonamide drugs have been fully tried out and with what comparative results.

The latest figures available for the East and Central African territories are:

Territory.Year.Number of cases of amoebic dysentery.
KenyaNo figures available
Uganda1943754
Tanganyika19431,010
Zanzibar194315
Northern Rhodesia193978
Nyasaland193944

Exploration of methods of treatment of amœbic dysentery is proceeding continuously, and I have no reason to believe that there has been any alarming increase in the incidence of this disease in these territories in recent years, or in the mortality from it. Experiments with the sulphonamides have shown that they have no effect in amœbic dysentery. The main line of treatment is Emetine Bismuth Iodine (an ipecacuanha derivative), combined with the use of oxyquinoline. Recent work has been done with Diodoxyquin and has been described in the African journals, and has been and is going to be described in the Tropical Diseases Bulletin—the journal of the Bureau of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases. The full study of European and native incidence would require large investigation staff which are not available at present.