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Prevalence and risk factors of helminths and intestinal protozoa infections among children from primary schools in western Tajikistan

Matthys, B. and Bobieva, M. and Karimova, G. and Mengliboeva, Z. and Jean-Richard , V. and Hoimnazarova, M. and Kurbonova, M. and Lohourignon, L. K. and Utzinger, J. and Wyss, K.. (2011) Prevalence and risk factors of helminths and intestinal protozoa infections among children from primary schools in western Tajikistan. Parasites and Vectors, 4 (195).

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Intestinal parasitic infections represent a public health problem in Tajikistan, but epidemiological evidence is scarce. The present study aimed at assessing the extent of helminths and intestinal protozoa infections among children of 10 schools in four districts of Tajikistan, and to make recommendations for control.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in early 2009. All children attending grades 2 and 3 (aged 7-11 years) from 10 randomly selected schools were invited to provide a stool sample and interviewed about sanitary situation and hygiene behaviour. A questionnaire pertaining to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics was addressed to the heads of households. On the spot, stool samples were subjected to duplicate Kato-Katz thick smear examination for helminth diagnosis. Additionally, 1-2 g of stool was fixed in sodium acetate-acetic acid formalin, transferred to a specialized laboratory in Europe and examined for helminths and intestinal protozoa. The results from both methods combined served as diagnostic 'gold' standard.
RESULTS: Out of 623 registered children, 602 participated in our survey. The overall prevalence of infection with helminths and pathogenic intestinal protozoa was 32.0% and 47.1%, respectively. There was pronounced spatial heterogeneity. The most common helminth species was Hymenolepis nana (25.8%), whereas the prevalences of Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm and Enterobius vermicularis were below 5%. The prevalence of pathogenic intestinal protozoa, namely Giardia intestinalis and Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar was 26.4% and 25.9%, respectively. Almost half of the households draw drinking water from unimproved sources, such as irrigation canals, rivers and unprotected wells. Sanitary facilities were pit latrines, mostly private, and a few shared with neighbours. The use of public tap/standpipe as a source of drinking water emerged as a protective factor for G. intestinalis infection. Protecte spring water reduced the risk of infection with E. histolytica/E. dispar and H. nana.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data obtained from the ecological 'lowland' areas in western Tajikistan call for school-based deworming (recommended drugs: albendazole and metronidazole), combined with hygiene promotion and improved sanitation. Further investigations are needed to determine whether H. nana represents a public health problem.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Swiss Centre for International Health > Health Systems Support (Prytherch)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Eco System Health Sciences > Health Impact Assessment (Utzinger)
UniBasel Contributors:Utzinger, Jürg and Wyss, Kaspar
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1756-3305
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:16 Nov 2016 14:59
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 16:20

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