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N Engl J Med. 1982 Aug 5;307(6):339-42.

An outbreak of amebiasis spread by colonic irrigation at a chiropractic clinic.


From June 1978 through December 1980, at least 36 cases of amebiasis occurred in persons who had had colonic-irrigation therapy at a chiropractic clinic in western Colorado. Of 10 persons who required colectomy, six did. Of 176 persons who had been to the clinic in the last four months of 1980, 80 had received other forms of treatment. Twenty-one per cent of the colonic-irrigation group had bloody diarrhea, as compared with 1 per cent of the non-irrigation group (P = 0.00013). Thirty-seven per cent of the colonic-irrigation group who submitted specimens had evidence of amebic infection on either stool examination or serum titer, as compared with 2.4 per cent in the non-irrigation group (P = 0.00012). Persons who were given colonic irrigation immediately after a person with bloody diarrhea received it were at the highest risk for the development of amebiasis. Tests of the colonic-irrigation machine after routine cleaning showed heavy contamination with fecal coliform bacteria. The severity of disease in this outbreak may have been related to the route of inoculation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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