Intestinal Parasites in Indochinese Immigrants

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  • Tropical Diseases and Travelers Clinic, Family Medical Center, University of California Medical Center, Divisions of Epidemiology and Family Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, University of California, Family Medical Center, University Hospital, San Diego University, San Diego, California 92103

Fifty-two percent of 419 recent Indochinese refugees, most of whom were studied because they had symptoms, signs, or hematologic findings suggestive of parasitism, had intestinal parasites. The frequency of parasitism was comparable in Vietnamese vs. other Inodochinese (Cambodians and Laotians), but other Indochinese were more often found to have multiple parasites. The most common parasite in Vietnamese was Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm was the most common parasite in Cambodians and Laotians, and opisthorchid flukes were only found in Laotians. Age and sex were not related to infection except for Giardia, which was more prevalent in children. Based on public or personal health hazards and treatability, 33% of patients had parasites judged to warrant therapy, even in a clinically normal host.