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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009 May;80(5):805-11.

The profile of health problems in African immigrants attending an infectious disease unit in Melbourne, Australia.

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Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


The number of African immigrants living in Western countries is increasing. A retrospective audit of sub-Saharan African patients attending the infectious diseases clinics of a Melbourne teaching hospital was performed. A total of 375 patients were included. Helicobacter pylori gastritis was diagnosed in 60% of those tested (35/58), schistosomiasis in 41% (84/206), chronic hepatitis B in 19% (32/167), and strongyloidiasis in 18% (32/179). Active tuberculosis (TB) affected 18% (51/276) and latent TB 55% (152/276). Pathologic parasites were detected in stool in 21% (31/145). Vitamin D deficiency (< 50 nmol/L) affected 73% (139/191), anemia 17% (52/312), iron deficiency 15% (22/151), and low neutrophil count 25% (78/312). Infectious diseases, vitamin D deficiency, anemia, and latent TB were common in sub-Saharan African immigrants. Clinicians need to be aware of these conditions to meet the health needs of this group. Comprehensive health checks should be encouraged for new arrivals, particularly from high-risk areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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