Archeological deposits from the 19th century company town of Fayette, Michigan were analyzed for evidence of endoparasitic infection in the human population residing in the town between 1867 and 1891. Three privies were associated with upper-income and middle-income neighborhoods; 2 household refuse disposal areas were found in a predominately lower-income immigrant working class neighborhood. Sediment samples from 2 privies associated with dwellings in the middle-income neighborhood were positive for eggs of the human whipworm Trichuris trichiura. The parasite was probably also present among residents of the lower income neighborhood, but the shallow nature of the refuse deposits in that locality precluded preservation of the eggs. Contemporary epidemiologic studies of helminth infections support the belief that T. trichiura may have been a common parasite of 19th century school-age children given the natural inclination of young children to defecate indiscriminately, play freely in the dirt, and eat without washing their hands.
Archeological Evidence of Parasitic Infection from the 19th Century Company Town of Fayette, Michigan
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Charles T. Faulkner, Sarah E. Cowie, Patrick E. Martin, Susan R. Martin, C. Shane Mayes, Sharon Patton; Archeological Evidence of Parasitic Infection from the 19th Century Company Town of Fayette, Michigan. J Parasitol 1 August 2000; 86 (4): 846–849. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/0022-3395(2000)086[0846:AEOPIF]2.0.CO;2
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