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A 14-year review (2007-2020) of helminthiasis epidemiology in a hospital in Southern Madrid, Spain.

PURPOSE: Vast majority of helminth diseases remain neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), causing significant morbidity. The widespread and periodic distribution of antiparasitic drugs, remains the cornerstone for controlling these diseases. In Spain, most helminthiasis cases are imported, and suspicion and diagnosis have become increasingly important. Our primary objective is to present the epidemiological landscape of helminthiasis diagnoses within our facility, while also detailing the demographic characteristics of the affected population.

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted at the Hospital Universitario Severo Ochoa (HUSO) from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2020, encompassing all diagnosed cases of helminthiasis during this period. Comprehensive epidemiological, clinical, and microbiological data were gathered for all diagnosed patients. The study population comprised patients receiving treatment at the HUSO, as well as those receiving treatment at the Leganés and Fuenlabrada Primary Care Units. Subsequently, descriptive and comparative statistics were performed, comparing Spanish and foreign patients.

RESULTS: During this period, a total of 952 patients were diagnosed with some form of helminthiasis. Among them, 495 were Spanish, and 457 were foreign. The total number of helminths identified, including patients with multiple infections, was 1,010. Significant differences were observed between Africans and Americans in terms of age distribution, with a higher prevalence among Africans in the 0-15 age range and among Americans in the 31-60 age range. Variations were noted in the distribution of helminths, with S. stercoralis significantly affecting Americans. For Spanish patients, the presence of Trichuris trichiura and S. stercoralis was significantly associated with eosinophilia, whereas among foreign patients, it was associated with Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides among others. Regarding symptoms, skin manifestations were more frequent among Spanish, while digestive were more common among foreigners.

CONCLUSIONS: This study offers crucial epidemiological insights into helminth infections observed over time in a Madrid hospital. Although the prevalence of helminth infections has been decreasing, there is still a need for screening and diagnosing foreign patients.

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