Background: The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Due to the growth in international travel and immigration, NTDs may be diagnosed in countries of the western world, but there has been no specific focus in the literature on imported NTDs. Methods: Retrospective study of a cohort of immigrants and travelers diagnosed with one of the 13 core NTDs at a Tropical Medicine Referral Unit in Spain during the period April 1989-December 2007. Area of origin or travel was recorded and analyzed. Results: There were 6168 patients (2634 immigrants, 3277 travelers and 257 VFR travelers) in the cohort. NTDs occurred more frequently in immigrants, followed by VFR travelers and then by other travelers (p,0.001 for trend). The main NTDs diagnosed in immigrants were onchocerciasis (n = 240, 9.1%) acquired mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, Chagas disease (n = 95, 3.6%) in immigrants from South America, and ascariasis (n = 86, 3.3%) found mainly in immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa
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