Giardiasis and poor vitamin A status among aboriginal school children in rural Malaysia

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Sep;83(3):523-7. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2010.09-0371.


A cross-sectional study was carried out on 241 primary schoolchildren in Pahang, Malaysia to update their vitamin A status and to investigate the association of poor vitamin A status with their health and socioeconomic factors. All children were screened for intestinal parasitic infections. Blood samples were collected and vitamin A status was assessed. Socioeconomic data were collected by using pre-tested questionnaires. The results showed that 66 (27.4%) children had low serum retinol levels (< 0.70 micromol/L). Giardiasis and severe ascariasis were significantly associated with low serum retinol levels (P = 0.004 and P = 0.018, respectively). Logistic regression confirmed the significant association of giardiasis with low serum retinol (odds ratio = 2.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.3-5.5). In conclusion, vitamin A deficiency is still a public health problem in rural Malaysia. Vitamin A supplementation and treatment of intestinal parasitic infections should be distributed periodically to these children to improve their health and nutritional status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Giardiasis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Rural Population*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / epidemiology*


  • Vitamin A