[The traveler returning from the tropics in clinical practice].Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1995; 125(5):163-70SM
Travellers returning from the tropics frequently consult a physician even if they have no actual symptoms. Physical check-ups in asymptomatic returnees rarely detect dangerous conditions. The most common laboratory finding is intestinal parasites. Blood eosinophilia may indicate helminthic infections, such as strongyloidosis, filariasis, schistosomiasis and others. If there are no diagnostically suggestive symptoms a systematic, step-by-step workup is recommended (stool parasitology, serology, and special methods to demonstrate parasites in blood or tissues). The most common symptom of returnees from the tropics is diarrhea, or other disorders of intestinal motility. Appropriate investigations include parasitological and bacteriological tests, and--if the course is more chronic--endoscopy. If diarrhea is associated with fever, systemic infections (e.g. falciparum malaria) must be considered. Fever as a leading sign may mask a number of potentially dangerous infections. If there are no other obvious signs or symptoms indicating a particular etiology, the diagnostic approach should consider first of all those systemic infections, which are potentially life-threatening and can be cured by specific therapy, i.e. bacterial meningitis, falciparum malaria, septicemia (including typhoid fever), extraintestinal amebiasis, and African trypanosomiasis.