There has been a rapid increase in cross-border female marriage immigrants in Taiwan. In this study, 1,434 Vietnamese female marriage immigrants arriving between July 1998 and June 2001 were examined for intestinal parasites. Most (77.9%) of these women were 20-29 years of age. The prevalence of intestinal parasite infection was 37.7%, and the trend increased from 1999 to 2001 (statistically significant, p < 0.0001), but decreased among age subgroups (p < 0.0001). Among the 20 species of intestinal parasites found in this study, 10 species (27.8%) were transmitted via the fecal-oral route, 5 (14.6%) via the soil-mediated route, and 5 (0.7%) by food-borne infection. The prevalence of blastocystosis (20.4%) and hookworm (9.7%) remained high among this population. The results provide unprecedented information on intestinal parasitic infection among these immigrants in southern Taiwan and recommend that appropriate health care be given after parasite infection is confirmed in these migrant communities.
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