Predominance of Blastocystis sp. Infection among School Children in Peninsular Malaysia

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 25;11(2):e0136709. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136709. eCollection 2016.

Abstract

Background: One of the largest cross-sectional study in recent years was carried out to investigate the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among urban and rural school children from five states namely Selangor, Perak, Pahang, Kedah and Johor in Peninsula Malaysia. This information would be vital for school authorities to influence strategies for providing better health especially in terms of reducing intestinal parasitism.

Methods and principal findings: A total of 3776 stool cups was distributed to 26 schools throughout the country. 1760 (46.61%) responded. The overall prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection in both rural and urban areas was 13.3%, with Blastocystis sp (10.6%) being the most predominant, followed by Trichuris trichiura (3.4%), Ascaris lumbricoides (1.5%) and hook worm infection (0.9%). Only rural school children had helminthic infection. In general Perak had the highest infection (37.2%, total, n = 317), followed by Selangor (10.4%, total, n = 729), Pahang (8.6%, total, n = 221), Kedah (6.2%, total, n = 195) and Johor (3.4%, total, n = 298). School children from rural schools had higher infection (13.7%, total, n = 922) than urban school children (7.2%, total, n = 838). Subtype (ST) 3 (54.3%) is the most predominant ST with persons infected with only ST1 and ST3 showing symptoms. Blastocystis sp infection significantly associated with low household income, low parent's education and presence of symptoms (p<0.05).

Conclusion: It is critical that we institute deworming and treatment to eradicate the parasite especially in rural school children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blastocystis / classification
  • Blastocystis / genetics
  • Blastocystis / isolation & purification
  • Blastocystis Infections / epidemiology*
  • Blastocystis Infections / parasitology
  • Blastocystis Infections / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Health
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Health
  • Urban Population

Grant support

This research was supported by High Impact Research (HIR) Grant – Ministry of High Education (MOHE) - (Project UM.C/625/1/HIR/044) and Postgraduate Research Grant (PPP), Institute Graduate Studies, University Malaya - (PV133-2012A).