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

Katherine B. Gibney, Seema Mihrshahi, Joseph Torresi, Caroline Marshall, Karin Leder, Beverley-Ann Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-811
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume80
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

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