Spectrum of Helminth Infections in Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe: A Literature Review

Katharina Grzegorek Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Munich, Germany;

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Inge Kroidl Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Munich, Germany;
German Center for Infection Research, Munich, Germany;

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Clarissa Prazeres da Costa German Center for Infection Research, Munich, Germany;
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany;
Center for Global Health, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany

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Camilla Rothe Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Munich, Germany;

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ABSTRACT.

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is endemic to numerous neglected tropical diseases, including many helminth diseases. With the migration of people from this part of the world to Europe, as has been happening on a large scale since 2015, these diseases are becoming more relevant to European physicians. This work aims to summarize the recent literature on this topic and to raise awareness of helminth diseases afflicting SSA migrants. The databases PubMed, Embase, and MEDLINE were screened for literature published in English and German between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2020. In total, 74 articles were included in this review. The spectrum of helminth infections in migrants from SSA found in the literature review is broad; current research, however, is particularly focused on infections with Schistosoma spp. and Strongyloides stercoralis. Both diseases are often characterized by a long course, with few or no symptoms, with the risk of long-term organ damage. Successful and reliable screening for schistosomiasis and strongyloidiasis is strongly recommended. However, the current diagnostic methods lack sensitivity and specificity, rendering the diagnosis challenging and reliable assessment of disease prevalence difficult. Novel diagnostic methods and a greater awareness of these diseases are urgently needed.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Katharina Grzegorek, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Leopoldstrasse 5, 80802 München, Germany. E-mail: katharina.grzegorek@med.uni-muenchen.de

Authors’ addresses: Katharina Grzegorek and Camilla Rothe, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Munich, Germany, E-mails: katharina.grzegorek@med.uni-muenchen.de and camilla.rothe@med.uni-muenchen.de. Inge Kroidl, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Munich, Germany, and German Center for Infection Research, Munich, Germany, E-mail: inge.kroidl@med.uni-muenchen.de. Clarissa Prazeres da Costa, German Center for Infection Research, Munich, Germany, Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany, and Center for Global Health, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany, E-mail: clarissa.dacosta@tum.de.

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