The Minnesota Department of Health recommends a health assessment for all refugees within 1 to 3 months of arrival, including screening for enteric parasites. Little information exists, however, to help clinicians decide whether to screen asymptomatic persons who have lived in the United States for a year or more. We questioned 71 immigrants from East Africa now living in Minnesota's Twin Cities about gastrointestinal symptoms and duration of residence in the United States and asked for stool specimens for ova and parasite examination. Fifty-one patients (72%) returned specimens. The prevalence of symptoms was no different in the 14 patients with pathogenic parasites than in the 37 without (71% vs. 76%). Patients with pathogens were likely to have lived in the United States for less time than those without pathogens (median 17 months vs. 32 months), but the groups were not discrete. Clinical data did not identify a group unlikely to have parasites or need screening.
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