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The cornerstone for the diagnosis of parasitic infections is a thorough history of the patient’s illness. Epidemiologic aspects of the illness are especially important because the risks of acquiring many parasites are closely related to occupation, recreation, or travel to areas of high endemicity. Without a basic knowledge of the epidemiology and life cycles of the major parasites, it is difficult to approach the diagnosis of parasitic infections systematically. Accordingly, the medical classification of important human parasites in this chapter emphasizes their geographic distribution, their transmission, and the anatomic location and stages of their life cycle in humans. The text and tables are intended to serve as a guide to the correct diagnostic procedures for the major parasitic infections; in addition, the reader is referred to other chapters that contain more comprehensive information about each infection (Chaps. 121, 122, 123, 124, 126, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135). Tables 120-1, 120-2, and 120-3 summarize the geographic distributions, the anatomic locations, and the methods employed for the diagnosis of flatworm, roundworm, and protozoal infections, respectively.


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