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Arch Hellen Med, 19(5), September-October 2002, 504-533


Parasitic infections

Department of Microbiology, “G. Gennimatas” General Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece

Parasitic infections, which are most prevalent in developing countries, in recent years present a new diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to physicians of the developed countries, because of increased international travel and the influx of immigrants from endemic regions. In Greece, though parasitic diseases are not a major problem, exotic parasitic infections, or infections caused from parasites which are no longer endemic are increasingly encounter, because of the presence of immigrants from various parts of the world (Albania, Eastern Europe, SE Asia and Africa). This review covers the clinical presentation, the mode of transmission, diagnostic methods and treatment of the most common parasitic infections –most of them imported and few endemic– which may be encountered in clinical and laboratory practice. More emphasis is given to the diagnosis, including methods of detection, isolation and identification of the parasites, new tests of parasitic antigen detection in the stools and serum, and serologic tests with high sensitivity and specificity. A series of pictures taken from patients in the author’s hospital provide the opportunity for study of the most characteristic features for identification of Giardia, Schistosoma, Fasciola hepatica, Strongyloides, Hookworms, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Enterobius vermicularis, Echinococcus and T. saginata. The objective of the review is to inform and educate physicians –especially microbiologists– so that they will be in a position to suspect, to diagnose precisely, and to treat the parasitic infections.

Key words: Clinical manifestations, Diagnosis, Parasitic infections, Treatment.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine