Background: The present study was carried out to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasite infections among children in Department of Rio San Juan (Nicaragua), to explore the extent of polyparasitism, and to identify the risk factors that might favour transmission of these parasites.
Methods: A coprological study of single stool specimen, collected at random from 382 children (167 boys and 215 girls) aged 2-15 years from two municipalities, and a questionnaire, concerning demographic and epidemiological data on sanitary and behavioural habits, was filled in to identify risk factors.
Results: About 93% of the children presented infection. Blastocystis hominis, the most frequently protozoa, and Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm, the most prevalent helminths. Polyparasitism (85.4%[326/382]), with the highest percentages detected in females (p=0.001), in the 6-11 year age group (p<0.001) and having a rural background (p<0.001). A firm relationship between any parasite and age (OR=1.2, p=0.036) and rural background (OR=0.3, p=0.027) was detected. Living in rural areas and drinking river water were also positively associated with each of the STH species detected, and walking barefoot was also associated with hookworm infection.
Conclusions: Government efforts should be focused on controlling the risk factors associated with these enteroparasites, with health education programmes in rural areas of Nicaragua.
Keywords: Children; Intestinal parasites; Nicaragua; Prevalence; Rio San Juan; Risk factors.
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