A screening program based in a Massachusetts community hospital primary care clinic, which included 124 children from 12 different Latin American countries, demonstrated that nearly 35% were carriers of pathogenic parasites. The large majority (83.7%) of these children were asymptomatic at the time of the examination. Although there may be considerable variation based on country of origin, the present results, as well as a review of the literature, suggest this is likely to be a common finding among children born in most regions of Latin America. Compliance with the screening process was significantly higher in groups with higher infection rates and the successive yield in those patients who submitted two or more stool samples revealed that most pathogens were identified in the first sample. Schoolage children were found to have the highest risk for both roundworm infections and multiple parasitic infections. For those children with identified pathogens, nearly 90% received treatment. Current trends in immigration, international adoptions, and special circumstances including day care, family shelters, and increasing numbers of human immunodeficiency virus-infected children have made an appreciation of the extent of parasitosis, and awareness of possible management approaches, an important consideration for primary care physicians in the United States.

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