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Immigrants living in an urban milieu with sanitation in Southern Italy: persistence and transmission of intestinal parasites


In the current era of globalization, the massive movement of populations to developed countries causes a greater attention to neglected tropical diseases in places where such diseases are considered unusual. The present study was planned to assess the persistence of intestinal parasitosis in immigrants stably living in the urban central area of Naples (Southern Italy) and the spread of infection within households with a lifestyle similar to that of the country of origin. A total of 2150 stool samples were analysed with the FLOTAC dual technique, and 415 subjects (19.3 %) tested positive for pathogenic intestinal parasites. One hundred ninety-six subjects were randomly selected and monitored again after 1 year in order to evaluate the persistence of intestinal parasites in immigrants having access to proper sanitation. No pathogenic parasites were found in these 196 samples. A total of 482 cohabitants of 151 positive subjects were recruited to evaluate the interfamilial spread of the identified parasites. Only in 18 households were there subjects infected with the same parasite. Monitoring of parasites in stool samples of immigrants showed a decrease of almost all pathogenic species over the years. From the analysis of households, it is not possible to assert that there is a familial transmission. Our study provides evidence that the prevalence of parasitic infections in immigrants is likely related to the poor sanitary habits of the country of origin and that acquisition of new sanitary regulations, together with the administration of pharmacological treatment, limits the transmission in the households and in the local population of their destination.

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We are grateful to all authors who kindly provided supplementary data for our analyses. We would like to thank Vincenzo Musella for GIS system support, Maria Paola Maurelli and Stefano Curto for their precious help in obtaining relevant articles and The Regional Center for Monitoring Parasites (CREMOPAR), Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy, for providing us FLOTAC faecal analysis equipment.

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Correspondence to Luciano Gualdieri.

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Gualdieri, L., Piemonte, M., Alfano, S. et al. Immigrants living in an urban milieu with sanitation in Southern Italy: persistence and transmission of intestinal parasites. Parasitol Res 115, 1315–1323 (2016).

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  • Immigrants
  • Household
  • Intestinal parasitosis
  • Sanitation
  • Drug efficacy