Prevalence of chronic infections and susceptibility to measles and varicellazoster virus in Latin American immigrants

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Background: Large numbers of Latin American immigrants recently arrived in Western Europe. Curative and preventive programmes need to take account of their risk of suffering and transmitting imported chronic infections and of their susceptibility to cosmopolitan infections. We aimed to assess the prevalence and co-occurrence of imported chronic infections among Latin American immigrants, and their susceptibility to highly prevalent cosmopolitan infections. Methods: Adult participants were recruited in the community and in a primary health centre in Geneva in 2008. Serological tests were performed on stored sera for HIV, HBV, syphilis, Strongyloides stercoralis, Trypanosoma cruzi, varicella and measles. We considered only chronic active infections in the analysis. Results and discussion: The 1 012 participants, aged 37.2 (SD 11.3) years, were mostly female (82.5 %) and Bolivians (48 %). Overall, 209 (20.7 %) had at least one and 27 (2.7 %) two or more chronic infections. T. cruzi (12.8 %) and S. stercoralis (8.4 %) were the most prevalent chronic active infections compared to syphilis (0.4 %), HBV (0.4 %) and HIV (1.4 %). Concomitant infections affected 28.2 and 18.5 % of T. cruzi and S. stercoralis infected cases. Bolivian origin (aOR: 13.6; 95 % CI: 3.2-57.9) was associated with risk of multiple infections. Susceptibilities for VZV and measles were 0.7 and 1.4 %, respectively. Latin American immigrants are at risk of complications and possible reactivation of chronic parasitic infections but have overall low risks of chronic viral and syphilitic active infections. Conclusions: Systematic screening for chronic active parasitic infections is therefore necessary especially among Bolivians. The high protection rate against measles and VZV doesn't require specific preventive interventions.




Jackson, Y., Santos, L., Arm-Vernez, I., Mauris, A., Wolff, H., Chappuis, F., & Getaz, L. (2016). Prevalence of chronic infections and susceptibility to measles and varicellazoster virus in Latin American immigrants. Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 5(1).

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