Parents need protection as well. They should seek advice before travel and receive recommended vaccines appropriate for the country of travel, and update missing vaccines [13,14]. Information on travel requirements and vaccines is available from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/). Household members and close contacts of the adopted child should update and complete missing or delayed vaccines .
International adoptees should be evaluated within a few weeks of arrival in the USA. The evaluation and medical assessment should include a review of the available medical history (which may be inaccurate), a physical examination (vision, hearing, growth, and developmental screening), and a comprehensive laboratory screening based on previous exposure, infectious disease risks, nutritional status, and ethnicity [4,16]. While infectious disease-related issues are the most frequently identified problems, other undiagnosed metabolic, hematologic, and neurologic problems have also been identified . Commonly encountered infections and recommended screening tests for internationally adopted children are summarized in Table 1[17,18▪▪].
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is prevalent in many of the countries where children of international adoption originate. In one study, anti-HAV antibodies were detected in 29% of 279 international adoptees. The rates were highest in children older than 2 years and those from Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Asia . Screening for anti-HAV antibodies at the initial visit distinguishes acute from past infection, susceptible children, and immune children (Table 1). Children susceptible to HAV should receive HAV vaccine if older than 1 year .
All adopted children should be tested for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. In the 1990s, HBV surface antigen was detected in up to 5% of children of international adoption, especially those from Asia, Africa, central and Eastern Europe [2,3,10]. Since then, HBV vaccine use in infants has increased worldwide. However, administration of HBV vaccine at birth to prevent perinatal transmission remains suboptimal. Screening for HBV infection in international adoptees is recommended both to prevent HBV transmission to close contacts and to prevent consequences of chronic HBV infection. Children found to be chronically infected (Table 1) should undergo additional testing, and consultation with a pediatric infectious disease or liver specialist to assess if treatment is needed. Household contacts of children with acute or chronic HBV infection should also receive HBV vaccine and be counseled on practices to prevent transmission [20,21].
Similarly, testing for antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV) is recommended for children adopted from countries where the prevalence of HCV is high (e.g. Russia, China, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia) . A previous study found that up to 1.3% of internationally adopted children had HCV infection . Detection of anti-HCV antibodies should be confirmed by nucleic acid testing for HCV RNA. All children with confirmed HCV infection require further consultation with a pediatric infectious disease or liver specialist. Re-testing for HCV in 6 months is recommended if initial screening results were negative. Transplacentally acquired HCV antibodies in young infants may remain detectable in serum up to 18 months of age and may not indicate infection .
All children must be screened for HIV infection prior to adoption (Table 1). Although adoptees frequently originate from countries with high rates of HIV infection, the incidence of HIV infection among international adoptees is low. In a study of international adoptees at 17 international adoption clinics, fewer than 1% of children had HIV infection . A history of failure to thrive, recurrent infections, developmental delay, opportunistic infection, and delayed dentition are suggestive of HIV infection, although malnutrition and/or prolonged stay in an orphanage may result in a similar clinical presentation. Some experts recommend that all children younger than 6 months be screened for HIV infection using HIV DNA PCR and that they be re-tested by HIV ELISA in 6 months if initial screening was negative. Since 2010, US immigration laws have permitted waivers for HIV-infected children. Consequently, adoptive parents in the USA are seeking and adopting children with known HIV infection, and these children may now constitute one of the largest sources of new pediatric HIV cases in the USA. Because of increasing global access to antiretroviral drugs, some international adoptees have access to and are on antiretroviral therapy. All children of international adoption with HIV infection need consultation with a pediatric infectious disease specialist for the management of their HIV infection.
Children are frequently adopted from countries where the prevalence of syphilis is high and perinatal screening is suboptimal. As such, congenital syphilis often remains undiagnosed. International adoptees are usually screened for syphilis in their home country and frequently treated if infected. However, up to 3% of international adoptees were diagnosed with congenital syphilis after their arrival in the USA [3,6,26]. Regardless of history and report of treatment, all children should be re-evaluated for syphilis with nontreponemal test, and if positive, confirmed by a treponemal serologic testing (Table 1). Children with a positive syphilis serologic test and confirmed syphilis infection need further evaluation (audiology, vision, neurologic, cerebrospinal fluid, long-bone radiographs, etc.) in conjunction with a pediatric infectious diseases specialist to assess the need for treatment.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, along with other lesser known members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (M. bovis and M. africanum), is prevalent in countries where many international adoptees come from [26,27]. In spite of the widespread use of the bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine in these countries, drug-resistant M. tuberculosis and HIV circulate widely [12,28]. Among international adoptees screened, 5–19% were found to have a positive tuberculin skin test (TST) [3,27]. Whereas latent TB infection (LTBI) is most common in adopted children, active TB infection is not rare. An international adoptee was responsible for a community outbreak of TB in North Dakota . Screening for TB among international adoptees should be performed (Table 1) with TST or an interferon gamma release assay (for children >5 years), regardless of a history of BCG vaccination. Interpretation of the two screening methods is defined in the 2012 Red Book . Children found to have a positive TST or interferon gamma release assay should be carefully examined for symptoms and signs of TB, including a chest radiograph. Children assessed as LTBI should be treated with a course of isoniazid for 9 months. Children with active pulmonary or extra-pulmonary TB should be treated with multiple drug regimens. Every attempt should be made to obtain specimens (sputum, gastric aspirate, and lymph node) for mycobacterium culture and susceptibilities to help guide drug therapy. In the absence of culture information, drug therapy choices should be based on TB resistance patterns in the child's home country. Consultation with a pediatric infectious disease specialist is recommended and TB infections should be reported to the local health department.
Intestinal parasite infections are common among internationally adopted children. Up to 27% of international adoptees have one or more pathogen(s) detected after arrival in the USA. The most common parasite, Giardia lamblia, has been identified in 19% of children [3,29▪▪]. Entamoeba histolytica, Dientamoeba fragilis, Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichura, Strongyloides stercoralis, and other parasites have also been detected [2,3,29▪▪,30]. The prevalence of parasites in adoptees varies by country, with higher rates among older children and in children adopted from Ukraine, Ethiopia, and Russia [23,29▪▪]. Reversible effects of chronic parasite infection (i.e. growth delay, anemia, and impaired cognition) are frequently present in international adoptees. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea may be absent or underappreciated because of language barriers and young age . All international adoptees should be screened on arrival with at least three stool specimens tested for ova and parasites, collected 2–3 days apart [29▪▪]. Additional stool testing for Giardia by immunoassay increases detection rates . Treatment of Giardia and some parasites is recommended, and is particularly important if the child is symptomatic or malnourished. Recommended drugs for the treatment of parasites are summarized in the 2012 Red Book . Repeat testing of stool for ova and parasites should be performed after treatment. Occasionally, children have a negative stool examination, but have peripheral eosinophilia. Further evaluation for parasites that have a tissue phase during their life cycle (Ascaris, Strongyloides, and Toxocara), and other less common causes of eosinophilia, should be performed (Table 1). In children with eosinophilia in whom evaluation for parasites is negative, empiric treatment with albendazole may be considered .
IMMUNIZATION AND VACCINE-PREVENTABLE DISEASES
The completeness of adoptee immunization records varies by country. Records from South Korea are usually adequate. However, a significant proportion of records are incomplete, and when available are questionable [2,10]. In earlier studies, 37–65% of international adoptees had no documentation or deficient vaccination records [11,34]. Moreover, among those with vaccine records, only 53–70% had protective antibodies to previous vaccinations [30,35]. For adoptees presenting with vaccine records, providers have to decide what vaccines to administer. Several options exist, including disregarding previous vaccinations and beginning immunizations appropriate for the child's age, or verification of the vaccine records by measuring antibodies to vaccines previously administered, followed by selective immunization if antibodies are low or absent (Table 1). Most experts re-immunize children younger than 1 year and malnourished children and reserve antibody testing for older children . Measuring antibody levels in older children has been reported to be cost-effective in assessing the need for further immunization . However, in a recent study, children who had completed their primary vaccine series (≥3 documented doses of vaccine) in their home country, protective immunity was documented against diphtheria (85%), tetanus (95%), hepatitis B (77%), Haemophilus influenzae type b (67%), and polio (93%). This rate was significantly higher than among those with fewer doses . To minimize unnecessary serologic testing and/or vaccination for international adoptees with documented and completed primary vaccine series it is reasonable to accept vaccine records from their home country and complete immunizations with vaccines appropriate for the child's age. Children with deficient, delayed, or questionable immunization records should re-start and complete immunizations with vaccines appropriate for their age. Immunization recommendations are summarized in the 2012 Red Book and the ACIP 2012 policy statement on Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization [15,37].
Because children are adopted from many different countries, uncommon infections unique to those regions have been identified in children of international adoption. These include Chagas disease, malaria, yaws, measles, scabies, lice, and leprosy [26,38,39]. Identification, screening, and treatment of some uncommon infections can be found in reference texts [40,41]. Other medical problems should be addressed or referred to pediatric subspecialist as needed.
The evaluation of children of international adoption can be complex. Because infections and immunization issues are common among international adoptees, infectious disease specialists and pediatricians serve vitally important roles in working with the family to identify the child's healthcare needs. A comprehensive evaluation of the child (medical history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory testing) is crucial for the early identification and treatment of medical problems, including infections. Screening for infections and evaluation of previous immunizations are central to the diagnosis and medical management of these children.
The author thanks C. Stockmann and Drs J. Christenson and A. Pavia for their critical review of the manuscript. Funding: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [grant number U01A1082482] and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention [U18-IP000303–01].
This project was further supported by the University of Utah, Department of Pediatrics through the Children's Health Research Center and the Pediatric Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Program, the H. A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowment, and the Primary Children's Medical Center Foundation.
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
REFERENCES AND RECOMMENDED READING
Papers of particular interest, published within the annual period of review, have been highlighted as:
- ▪ of special interest
- ▪▪ of outstanding interest
Additional references related to this topic can also be found in the Current World Literature section in this issue (p. 155).
2. Hostetter MK, Iverson S, Thomas W, et al. Medical evaluation of internationally adopted children
. N Engl J Med 1991; 325:479–485.
3. Saiman L, Aronson J, Zhou J, et al. Prevalence of infectious diseases among internationally adopted children
. Pediatrics 2001; 108:608–612.
4. Aronson J. Medical evaluation and infectious considerations on arrival. Pediatr Ann 2000; 29:218–223.
5. Hostetter M, Johnson DE. International adoption
. An introduction for physicians. Am J Dis Child 1989; 143:325–332.
6. Staat MA. Infectious disease issues in internationally adopted children
. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2002; 21:257–258.
7. Curtis AB, Ridzon R, Vogel R, et al. Extensive transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a child. N Engl J Med 1999; 341:1491–1495.
8. Measles outbreak among internationally adopted children
arriving in the United States, February–March 2001. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2002; 51:1115–1116.
9. Hostetter MK, Iverson S, Dole K, Johnson D. Unsuspected infectious diseases and other medical diagnoses in the evaluation of internationally adopted children
. Pediatrics 1989; 83:559–564.
10. Albers LH, Johnson DE, Hostetter MK, et al. Health of children
adopted from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Comparison with preadoptive medical records. JAMA 1997; 278:922–924.
11. Schulte JM, Maloney S, Aronson J, et al. Evaluating acceptability and completeness of overseas immunization
records of internationally adopted children
. Pediatrics 2002; 109:E22.
12. Jenista JA. The immigrant, refugee, or internationally adopted child. Pediatr Rev 2001; 22:419–429.
13. Barnett ED, Chen LH. Prevention of travel-related infectious diseases in families of internationally adopted children
. Pediatr Clin North Am 2005; 52:1271–1286.vi.
14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Health Information for International Travel 2012. New York: Oxford University Press.
15. American Academy of Pediatrics. Active Immunization
. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Long SS, McMillan JA, editors. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012. pp. 9–55.
16. Dawood F, Serwint JR. International adoption
. Pediatr Rev 2008; 29:292–294.
17. American Academy of Pediatrics. Medical evaluation of internationally adopted children
for infectious diseases. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Long SS, McMillan JA, editors. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012. pp. 191–199.
18▪▪. Jones VF. Comprehensive health evaluation of the newly adopted child. Pediatrics 2012; 129:e214–e223.
This is an excellent and detailed review of the evaluation of newly adopted children. This article summarized the available published literature on the evaluation of international adoptees.
19. Abdulla RY, Rice MA, Donauer S, et al. Hepatitis A in internationally adopted children
: screening for acute and previous infections. Pediatrics 2010; 126:e1039–e1044.
20. Sokal EM, Van Collie O, Buts JP. Horizontal transmission of hepatitis B from children
to adoptive parents. Arch Dis Childhood 1995; 72:191.
21. Friede A, Harris JR, Kobayashi JM, et al. Transmission of hepatitis B virus from adopted Asian children
to their American families. Am J Public Health 1988; 78:26–29.
22. Global burden of disease (GBD) for hepatitis C. J Clin Pharmacol 2004; 44:20–29.
23. Miller LC. International adoption
: infectious diseases issues. Clin Infect Dis 2005; 40:286–293.
24. Dunn DT, Gibb DM, Healy M, et al. Timing and interpretation of tests for diagnosing perinatally acquired hepatitis C virus infection
. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2001; 20:715–716.
25. Aronson J. HIV in internationally adopted children
. Annual Conference of the Joint Council for International Children
's Services; 2002; Washington, DC; 2002.
26. Murray TS, Groth ME, Weitzman C, Cappello M. Epidemiology and management of infectious diseases in international adoptees. Clin Microbiol Rev 2005; 18:510–520.
27. Pediatric Tuberculosis Collaborative Group. Targeted tuberculin skin testing and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection
and adolescents. Pediatrics 2004; 114:1175–1201.
28. American Academy of Pediatrics. Tuberculosis. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Long SS, McMillan JA, editors. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012. pp. 736–759.
29▪▪. Staat MA, Rice M, Donauer S, et al. Intestinal parasite screening in internationally adopted children
: importance of multiple stool specimens. Pediatrics 2011; 128:e613–e622.
This excellent article examines the prevalence of intestinal parasites in a large population of internationally adopted children and examines factors associated with infection. This article demonstrates the importance of testing multiple stool specimens in increasing the yield of parasite identification.
30. Johnson DE, Miller LC, Iverson S, et al. The health of children
adopted from Romania. JAMA 1992; 268:3446–3451.
31. Addiss DG, Mathews HM, Stewart JM, et al. Evaluation of a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Giardia lamblia antigen in stool. J Clin Microbiol 1991; 29:1137–1142.
32. American Academy of Pediatrics. Drugs for parasite infections. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Long SS, McMillan JA, editors. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012. pp. 848–868.
33. Schulte C, Krebs B, Jelinek T, et al. Diagnostic significance of blood eosinophilia in returning travelers. Clin Infect Dis 2002; 34:407–411.
34. Jenista JA, Chapman D. Medical problems of foreign-born adopted children
. Am J Dis Child 1987; 141:298–302.
35. Schulpen TW, van Seventer AH, Rumke HC, van Loon AM. Immunisation status of children
adopted from China. Lancet 2001; 358:2131–2132.
36. Staat MA, Stadler LP, Donauer S, et al. Serologic testing to verify the immune status of internationally adopted children
against vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccine 2010; 28:7947–7955.
37. Recommended childhood and adolescent immunization
schedules: United States, 2012. Pediatrics 2012; 129:385–386.
38. Satter EK, Tokarz VA. Secondary yaws: an endemic treponemal infection
. Pediatric Dermatol 2010; 27:364–367.
39. Smith-Garcia T, Brown JS. The health of children
adopted from India. J Commun Health 1989; 14:227–241.
40. Pickering LK, editor. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 29th ed. Elk Grove Village: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012.
41. Long SS, Pickering LK, Prober CG. Principles and practices of pediatric infectious diseases. 3rd ed.Philadelphia:Elsevier Inc.; 2008.
Keywords:© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
children; immunization; infection; international adoption