Sooner or later, in our careers as parasitologists, we will likely be called upon to examine host feces for the presence of helminth eggs, coccidial oocysts, or other products of the parasites we seek. Just as literature or film represents a compression of the events of real life, our study of fecal samples is a necessarily tiny portion of the universe of the “fecal world,” as it were.

What I would like to do today is to help broaden your appreciation of the fecal world, focusing particularly on human feces—its sheer volume and how we deal with it in the so-called developed world. Particular attention will be paid to the elimination, or reduction, of pathogens that occur in human sewage, and to ongoing efforts to transform human waste into a useful, societally acceptable product. These efforts represent the combined contributions of public health workers, civil...

You do not currently have access to this content.