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Imported amoebic liver abscess in France.

BACKGROUND: Worldwide, amoebic liver abscess (ALA) can be found in individuals in non-endemic areas, especially in foreign-born travelers.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of ALA in patients admitted to French hospitals between 2002 and 2006. We compared imported ALA cases in European and foreign-born patients and assessed the factors associated with abscess size using a logistic regression model.

RESULTS: We investigated 90 ALA cases. Patient median age was 41. The male:female ratio was 3.5:1. We were able to determine the origin for 75 patients: 38 were European-born and 37 foreign-born. With respect to clinical characteristics, no significant difference was observed between European and foreign-born patients except a longer lag time between the return to France after traveling abroad and the onset of symptoms for foreign-born. Factors associated with an abscess size of more than 69 mm were being male (OR = 11.25, p<0.01), aged more than 41 years old (OR = 3.63, p = 0.02) and being an immigrant (OR = 11.56, p = 0.03). Percutaneous aspiration was not based on initial abscess size but was carried out significantly more often on patients who were admitted to surgical units (OR = 10, p<0.01). The median time to abscess disappearance for 24 ALA was 7.5 months.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In this study on imported ALA was one of the largest worldwide in terms of the number of cases included males, older patients and foreign-born patients presented with larger abscesses, suggesting that hormonal and immunological factors may be involved in ALA physiopathology. The long lag time before developing ALA after returning to a non-endemic area must be highlighted to clinicians so that they will consider Entamoeba histolytica as a possible pathogen of liver abscesses more often.

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