The occurrence of appendicectomy in three national samples of British children was analysed in relation to household amenities, crowding in the home, and social class. The risk of having the operation depended on the amenities present in the home, in particular whether or not there was a bathroom. This risk was independent of social class.
The findings support a relation between acute appendicitis and Western hygiene, which would explain the geographical distribution of the disease and its changing incidence over time. In the developing world, where children grow up in conditions of poor hygiene, there may be outbreaks of appendicitis when housing improves.