In Spain, 12% of the population are immigrants. The impact of immigration in Spain on cystic echinococcosis (CE) is unknown. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology of CE in immigrants in western Spain.
First, a retrospective descriptive study of patients diagnosed with CE in the University Hospital of Salamanca (CAUSA) between January 1998 and December 2014 was designed. Second, we studied the seroprevalence of CE in sera from foreigners who received treatment in the Tropical Medicine Unit.
A total of 550 patients with new CE-related diagnoses were registered; of these, 16 (2.9%) were immigrants, of whom 10 (63%) were male. The age (mean±SD) was 34.6±12.8 years. The incidence rate of CE in immigrants was 8.76 cases per 105 person-years. Eight (50%) cases presented asymptomatically. Seroprevalence of CE in foreign patients was 2.3%. It was higher in North African population (4.2%), followed by sub-Saharan (2.4%) and Latin American (1.8%) (p=0.592) populations. The seroprevalence was higher in those who arrived recently (<12 months) vs those who arrived earlier (≥12 months), 3.5% vs 1.3% (p=0.077).
The epidemiological and clinical characteristics of CE in immigrants are different than those of the native population, and their influence on CE burden in our endemic area is still limited.