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Unusual Causes of Death in Haitians Residing in Miami High Prevalence of Opportunistic Infections

Lee B. Moskowitz, MD; Paul Kory, MD; Joseph C. Chan, MD; Harry W. Haverkos, MD; Frances K. Conley, MD; George T. Hensley, MD
JAMA. 1983;250(9):1187-1191. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340090043027.
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ABSTRACT

Twenty-one (100%) Haitians and 42 (21.5%) of 192 native black Americans autopsied in a 33-month period at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, were included in this review. All autopsied materials were examined. Among the Haitians autopsied, infectious diseases accounted for 11 (52%) of 21 deaths. Toxoplasma encephalitis was the leading cause of death (five cases). Other infectious causes of death included disseminated cryptococcosis (one), disseminated cytomegalovirus diseases (one), Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (one), chronic active hepatitis B (two), and bacterial pneumonia (one). Malignant neoplasms were also found to be causes of death and these included a single case of each of the following: adenocarcinoma of the lung, multiple myeloma, diffuse histiocytic lymphoma, hepatoma, and Kaposi's sarcoma. Deaths of the remaining cases were due to hypertensive cardiovascular diseases (two), rheumatic heart disease (one), glomerulonephritis (one), and intimal fibroplasia of coronary arteries (one). Seven Haitian cases fulfilled the Centers for Disease Control case definition for the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). For comparison, autopsies of black Americans were chosen from conditions that would most likely predispose them to opportunistic infections. Among the autopsies on black Americans there were no cases of opportunistic infections or Kaposi's sarcoma that were considered to be consistent with the AIDS.

(JAMA 1983;250:1187-1191)

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