Journal of Hygiene

Research Article

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

T. G. C. Murrella1 p1, J. R. Egertona2 p2, Anita Ramplinga2, Janet Samelsa3 and P. D. Walkera3

a1 Department of Public Health, Kundiawa, New Guinea

a2 Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries, Konedobu, Papua

a3 Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom

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.

(Received March 15 1966)


p1 Present address: Department of Medicine, University of Adelaide, South Australia.

p2 Present address: McMaster Laboratories, C.S.I.R.O., Glebe, New South Wales.