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The ecology and epidemiology of the pig-bel syndrome in man in New Guinea

  • T. G. C. Murrell (a1), J. R. Egerton (a2), Anita Rampling (a2), Janet Samels (a3) and P. D. Walker (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

1. Features in the epidemiology of a spontaneous enteric gangrene in the Highlands of New Guinea are described.

2. The disease has been called pig-bel because of its firm association with the pig-feasting practices of the people, which occur in 3–7 year cycles.

3. Cl. welchii type C is believed to play an important role in the pathogenesis of the condition. Strains isolated were strongly toxigenic and uniform in their toxin production.

4. A food poisoning aetiology was not proved but circumstantial and immunological evidence suggest that pork may be a vector of the disease.

5. The source of Cl. welchii type C was not established.

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J. R. Egerton & P. D. Walker (1964). The isolation of Clostridium perfringens type C from necrotic enteritis of man in Papua–New Guinea. J. Path. Bact. 88, 275.

A. T. Glenny , M. Barr , M. Llewellyn-Jones , T. Dalling & H. E. Ross (1933). Multiple toxins produced by some organisms of the Cl. welchii group. J. Path. Bact. 37, 53.

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H. Pietzonka & L. Rassfeld-Sternberg (1950). Weitere bakteriologisch gesicherte fälle von Enteritis necroticans in Hamburg und Ditmarschen (März 1948 bis März 1949). Klin. Wschr. 28, 425.

W. B. Roantree (1949). Spontaneous paralytic ileus. Br. J. Surg. 36, 352.

H. Siegmund (1948). Zur Pathologie und Pathogenese der als Darmbrand bezeichneten Enteritis necroticans. Klin. Wschr. 26, 33.

M. Sterne & G. H. Warrack (1964). The types of Clostridium perfringens. J. Path. Bact. 88, 279.

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Epidemiology & Infection
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