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Section 3 – System-oriented Disease

Chapter 10 – Tropical Gastroenterological Problems

Gordon C. Cook

The portals of entry for organisms responsible for most infections which dominate medicine in tropical countries (as elsewhere) are the skin, and respiratory and intestinal tracts. A very high proportion of infections of warm climes originates from ingestion of contaminated water and foodstuffs; many resultant diseases therefore fall into the subspecialty tropical gastroenterology.[1–3]

Most gastroenterological emergencies which occur in a temperate climate also occur in tropical and subtropical countries. However, there are notable differences in prevalence.[4]Some are probably ethnically related (although elimination of environmental factors is often difficult), but the majority are superimposed upon an underlying communicable (infective) disease; important examples are ileal perforation or haemorrhage resulting from typhoid (enteric) fever, colonic perforation – and far less often haemorrhage – in …