A Retrospective Analysis of Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites among School Children in the Palajunoj Valley of Guatemala

  • David M Cook Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, Brigham Young University
  • R Chad Swanson Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center
  • Dennis L Eggett Center for Collaborative Research and Statistical Consultation, Brigham Young University
  • Gary M Booth Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University
Keywords: Amoebiasis, Ascariasis, Ascaris lumbricoides, Blastocystis hominis, Child, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Giardiasis, Hymenolepis nana, Intestinal diseases, Parasitic, Parasites, Retrospective studies, Guatemala

Abstract

This study retrospectively analyzed demographic factors that may affect the prevalence of intestinal parasites among Guatemalan school children. The findings of the study showed that young age, wet season, female gender, and severe malnutrition all correlated positively with increased rates of infection. Clinical visits were performed on 10,586 school children aged 5-15 years over a four-year period (2004-2007) in the Palajunoj Valley of Guatemala, during which 5,705 viable stool samples were screened for infection with the following parasites: Ascaris lumbricoides, Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Hymenolepis nana, and Blastocystis hominis. The average overall prevalences of infection for specific parasites were A. lumbricoides 17.7%, E. histolytica 16.1%, G. lamblia 10.9%, H. nana 5.4%, and B. hominis 2.8%. Statistical analysis showed significantly higher rates of infection among younger children with G. lamblia (odds ratio [OR]=0.905, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.871-0.941, p<0.0001) and E. histolytica (p=0.0006), greater prevalence of H. nana among females (OR=1.275, CI 1.010-1.609, p=0.0412), higher infection rates during the wet season for E. histolytica (p=0.0003) and H. nana (OR=0.734, CI 0.557-0.966, p=0.0275), and greater rates of infection with G. lamblia among malnourished children (for moderately malnourished children OR=1.498, CI 1.143-1.963, p<0.0001) and E. histolytica (for mildly malnourished children OR=1.243, CI 1.062-1.455, p=0.0313). The results suggest that the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites among young Guatemalan children is highly dependent on the specific species of the parasite.

Key words: Amoebiasis; Ascariasis; Ascaris lumbricoides; Blastocystis hominis; Child; Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia; Giardiasis; Hymenolepis nana; Intestinal diseases, Parasitic; Parasites; Retrospective studies; Guatemala

doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v27i1.3321

J Health Popul Nutr 2009 Feb;27(1):31-40

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Author Biography

David M Cook, Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, Brigham Young University
Dr. David M. Cook
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science
Brigham Young University
421 N 100 E Provo, UT 84606
USA
Email: davidmackcook@gmail.com
How to Cite
Cook, D., Swanson, R., Eggett, D., & Booth, G. (1). A Retrospective Analysis of Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Parasites among School Children in the Palajunoj Valley of Guatemala. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 27(1), 31-40. https://doi.org/10.3329/jhpn.v27i1.3321
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Original Papers