Intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) represent one of the leading causes of morbidity in the world. Children involved in international adoptions constitute a special group of subjects with specific problems and specific healthcare needs. Nevertheless, in current literature there are insufficient data on IPI in this subset of children. This study aims to evaluate the prevalence of IPI in a cohort of internationally adopted children and to investigate epidemiologic factors and clinical features related to IPIs.
A retrospective study involving internationally adopted children <18 years old for which results from 3 fecal parasitologic tests were available, evaluated between September 1, 2008 and April 31, 2018 at a tertiary level university hospital in Rome. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were carried out to identify demographic factors and clinical features associated with IPIs. Two comparisons were performed, the first one according to the positivity of the parasitologic examination of the feces and the second one according to the pathogenicity of the identified strains.
Of 584 children evaluated, 346 (59.3%) had a positive parasitologic examination (143 pathogenic parasites and 203 nonpathogenic parasites) and 238 (40.8%) had a negative parasitologic examination. About 28.9% of children were positive for 2 or more parasites. A statistically significant positive association was found between IPIs and age, macroarea of origin (Africa and Latin America), living in institutions before adoption and vitamin D deficiency (P < 0.05).
Intestinal parasites represent a widespread infection among internationally adopted children, especially in school-age children and those from Latin America and Africa. Importantly, the parasites found in adopted children were not pathogenic in most cases and did not cause significant alterations in growth, major micronutrient deficits or malnutrition.
- intestinal parasitic infection, children, adoption