Measured in terms of death and misery, the tropical and parasitic diseases far exceed all other maladies. Until recently these "far away" illnesses have received little interest or investigation. Most medical libraries, for example, have only one or two shelves of books on tropical and parasitic medicine and surgery. It is startling to realize that the maladies described on those few shelves together with malnutrition result in more illness and death than all the other conditions described in the library. The previous neglect of these medical problems is due to several factors, including geographic distribution of the diseases, remoteness, economics, ignorance, and prejudice. The world has suddenly become small. With increasing travel more physicians will be caring for patients with these far away diseases.
Amebiasis is a worldwide parasitic disease, causing both medical and surgical problems. The communication by Chen et al in this issue on "Colon Perforation in Amebiasis"