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Evaluation of the Impact of Overseas Pre-departure Treatment for Infection with Intestinal Parasites among Montagnard Refugees Migrating from Cambodia to North Carolina

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  • 1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; North Carolina State Refugee Health Program, Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina State Laboratory for Public Health, Raleigh, North Carolina; International Organization for Migration, Geneva, Switzerland

We evaluated the effectiveness of an overseas pre-departure regimen of five days of albendazole for presumptive treatment of intestinal parasites by examining stool specimens in treated and untreated Montagnard refugees after arrival in the United States. Among 815 refugees evaluated, fully treated refugees had a significantly lower prevalence of helminths (11 [1.4%] of 777), specifically hookworm and Ascaris lumbricoides, than untreated pregnant women (3 [20%] of 15) (P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that treatment was associated with significantly lower rates of infection with helminths but not protozoa. Post-arrival gastrointestinal symptoms were not associated with findings on stool examination. Our evaluation suggests that although additional studies are needed to determine optimal treatment regimens for intestinal parasites, especially among young children and pregnant women, a five-day course of pre-departure albendazole was effective in reducing helminthic infection in treated refugees.

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