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Pediatr Ann. 1994 Aug;23(8):405, 409-13.

Eosinophilia caused by parasites.

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Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894.


Eosinophilia is defined as an absolute count of > 500 eosinophils per mm3 of peripheral blood. Eosinophilia is associated with many disorders, limiting its usefulness as a diagnostic tool in screening expatriates for parasite infections. In addition, only tissue-invasive helminthic parasites cause eosinophilia, which limits its general application as a screening tool for parasitic infections. Because eosinophilia may resolve spontaneously over time, the life cycle of parasites must be considered when evaluating eosinophilic patients, and repeated stool examinations or appropriate serology may be necessary to make the correct diagnosis. Future work on the risks associated with subclinical parasite infections would be helpful to place eosinophilia and other screening tests in proper perspective. Referral of difficult cases to specialists in travel medicine should be considered because detailed information about the geographic distribution and life cycle of helminthic parasites is often crucial to making the correct diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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