Undiagnosed and Potentially Lethal Parasite Infections Among Immigrants and Refugees in Australia
Article first published online: 14 JUL 2006
Journal of Travel Medicine
Volume 13, Issue 4, pages 233–239, July/August 2006
How to Cite
Caruana, S. R., Kelly, H. A., Ngeow, J. Y.Y., Ryan, N. J., Bennett, C. M., Chea, L., Nuon, S., Bak, N., Skull, S. A. and Biggs, B.-A. (2006), Undiagnosed and Potentially Lethal Parasite Infections Among Immigrants and Refugees in Australia. Journal of Travel Medicine, 13: 233–239. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2006.00045.x
- Issue published online: 14 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 14 JUL 2006
Background Intestinal parasite infections are a major cause of ill health in many resource-poor countries. This study compares the types and rates of these infections and their risk factors in recently arrived and long-term immigrants in Australia.
Method Cross-sectional surveys of 127 East African and 234 Cambodian immigrants and refugees were undertaken in 2000 and 2002, respectively, to assess the burden of intestinal parasites and collect demographic information. Serum samples were assessed for eosinophilia and Strongyloides stercoralis and Schistosoma antibodies, and feces examined for ova, cysts, and parasites.
Results Intestinal parasites were identified in 77/117 fecal samples from East African and in 25/204 samples collected from Cambodian participants. Eleven percent (14/124) of East Africans and 42% (97/230) of Cambodians had positive or equivocal serology for S stercoralis. Schistosoma serology was positive or equivocal in 15% (19/124) of East African participants.
Conclusion Potentially serious intestinal parasite infections are common among recent and longer term immigrants despite multiple visits to health care providers. Immigrants and refugees from high-risk countries would benefit from comprehensive health checks soon after resettlement.