Diarrhoeal diseases in the White Mountain Apaches: epidemiologic studies.
Acute diarrhoeal disease in children is known to be a major public health problem among native Americans living in reservations in the southwestern part of the United States. This study was undertaken to describe the epidemiology and causative agents of diarrhoea more completely, with the expectation that this information may help in the ultimate control of the disease in this population. Three interrelated epidemiologic studies were carried out in the White Mountain Apache Tribe, Whiteriver, Arizona, during 1981-1985: a three-year longitudinal study on a cohort of 112 newborns, a longitudinal two-year study in a cohort of 200 families, and a case-control study on 1,072 children with diarrhoea attending a medical facility. Both epidemiologic and microbiological patterns of diarrhoeal disease were found to be very similar to those seen in developing countries, indicating the need for basic improvements in sanitation and hygiene in this population.