Page, William Frank. "8 Literature Review and Further Discussion of Findings." The Health of Former Prisoners of War: Results from the Medical Examination Survey of Former POWs of World War II and the Korean Conflict. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1992.
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The Health of Former Prisoners of War: Results from the Medical Examination Survey of Former POWs of World War II and the Korean Conflict
(1946–1950) period. A more recent mortality study comparing 908 Australian ex-prisoners with 797 other veterans of the same theater found that mortality differences were pronounced from 5 to 14 years after the war; further analyses, however, did not suggest that these mortality differences could be attributed to particular causes of death (Dent et al., 1989). Moreover, the proportions of subjects whose vital status could not be ascertained differed among POWs (10%) and controls (15%); as a result, the possibility of bias in the study has been raised (Adena, 1989). In a 1973 study comparing samples of New Zealand ex-prisoners (N = 246), ex-servicemen (who went overseas but were not captured, N = 240), and ex-homeservicemen (who did not serve overseas, N = 209), Salmond and colleagues (1977) found a current disablement pension rate for pulmonary tuberculosis of 0% for ex-servicemen, 4.3% for ex-prisoners, and 7.1% for ex-homeservicemen; similar rates for tropical and parasitical disease were 7.1% for exservicemen, 1.1% for ex-prisoners, and 0% for ex-homeservicemen.
Turning to morbidity data, in the 1967 follow-up, Beebe (1975) found significantly higher hospitalization rates among PWP, compared with their controls, for pulmonary tuberculosis, early syphilis, amebiasis, schistosomiasis, and other worm infestation; PWK showed significantly higher rates of pulmonary tuberculosis, amebiasis, dysentery, and other worm infestation. A more recent study of 602 former British prisoners of the Japanese, conducted in Liverpool and published by Gill and Bell (1980), found 88 with strongyloidiasis and 6 with intestinal amebiasis. In a study of 170 Australian former prisoners of war of the Japanese and 172 non-POW veteran controls, Goulston et al. (1985) found 6 current cases of strongyloidiasis, all among POWs (for a rate of 3.5%) and all ascertained by microscopy or culture. However, these investigators reported lifetime prevalence rates of 15% for their Australian POWs and 2% for controls, speculating that their low yield of strongyloidiasis was probably the result of less time spent on direct microscopy. Hill (1988), reporting on former British POWs examined at Princess of Wales Royal Air Force Hospital in Ely, stated that the prevalence rate he found, 16%, was perhaps an underestimate and that 20% might be more realistic. The diagnosis of strongyloidiasis may be aided by the recent development of an ELISA test, evaluated in a sample of American POWs by Pelletier et al. (1988).
In the examination study, lifetime prevalence rates of infectious disease were extremely high, from 95% to 100%, for both POWs and controls, but current rates were roughly 20–30% in both POWs and controls, with the exception of WE, who had a low rate of 7.4% (see Table 5.C.3). There were no noteworthy differences between POWs and controls; therefore, no infectious diseases other than dysentery were singled out for further analysis. However, detailed tabulations were produced (see Appendix C), aggregated to the three-digit ICD [International Classification of Diseases] code