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Volume 42, Number 6, December 2009

Epidemiology of Blastocystis hominis and other intestinal parasites among the immigrant population in northeastern Taiwan by routine physical examination for residence approval


Chin-Te Lu, Yen-Jen Sung


Received: July 18, 2008    Revised: September 15, 2008    Accepted: October 11, 2008   

 

Corresponding author:

Dr  Chin-Te Lu, 83 Nan-Chang Street, Lo-Ting, I-Lan 265, Taiwan, E-mail: danctlu@mail.pohai.org.tw



 

Background and purpose: 

Blastocystis hominis has not been reported as an endemic disease in Taiwan, but high prevalence rates have been found among immigrants. Due to the increasing number of immigrants in Taiwan, B. hominis may become a public health problem in Taiwan. This study was performed to determine the prevalence of B. hominis among immigrant populations.



 

Methods:

Stool examination data from the Immigrant Physical Examination for Residence Approval in 2006 were examined.



 

Results:

Among the 932 immigrants from 4 countries, 188 individuals (20.2%) were infected with B. hominis. The prevalence was higher among immigrants from Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, 26.4%; Vietnam, 20.6%; The Philippines, 19.3%) than among those from China (7.6%). Coinfection with intestinal parasites of fecal-oral transmission (Endolimax nana and Entamoeba hartmannii) was a risk factor for B. hominis infection (odds ratio, 16.9; 95% confidence interval, 6.84-43.55). No significant differences in prevalence for sex and age were observed.



 

Conclusion:

To prevent local transmission and endemic spread of B. hominis, obligatory routine health screening for immigrant populations and early eradication of the infection are important policies for this high-risk group.



 

Key words:

Blastocystis hominis; Emigrants and immigrants; Endemic diseases; Parasites