A parallelism in the incidence of human and bovine goitre in the northern part of Israel is described.
Among 1475 children and adolescents from 8–18 years of age of both sexes and examined from Upper Galilee an average incidence of goitre of more than 10% was found.
A three years follow up study showed an increase in percentage of goitre to 30% among girls. No cretins or deaf or dumb subjects were found.
Thyroid weights of 385 heads of cattle slaughtered at the slaughter-houses or on the farms were determined. While the mean weight of thyroids of cattle from a non-endemic control area was 17.7 g the mean weight for the goitrous area attained 23.4 g. The mean relative thyroid weights for the control and goitrous areas were 3.75 and 6.98 g/100 kg respectively. The histopathological examination of several excised non selected thyroids from Upper Galilee showed pathological findings: hyperplasia, fibrosis, nodular goitre.
These data are the first evidence of the incidence of endemic goitre of cattle in Israel and suggest most strongly that here the unfavourable environment plays a decisive role among the factors which influence the weight of bovine thyroids.