Diarrhoeal diseases in the White Mountain Apaches: clinical studies.
Acute diarrhoeal diseases continue to be a major health problem in certain underprivileged populations in the United States, including native Americans living in reservations. To describe the features of patients with diarrhoeal diseases requiring medical care, those attending the medical facilities of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Whiteriver, Arizona, were studied during 1981-1985. Clinical and aetiological information was obtained on 535 patients which constitute a 20% sample of those attending the outpatient clinic and all 386 patients who required 550 hospitalizations. Rotavirus, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, and Shigella were the most common aetiologic agents, a pattern similar to that seen in the developing countries. The clinical features of diarrhoeal illness and the frequent associated occurrence of acute respiratory symptoms, however, were remarkably similar, regardless of aetiology.