Temporal trends of intestinal parasites in patients attending a tertiary care hospital in south India: A seven-year retrospective analysis

Indian J Med Res. 2017 Jul;146(1):111-120. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1236_14.


Background & objectives: Intestinal parasitic infections and their associated complications are a major cause of morbidity in the developing world. This retrospective study was done to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among patients in a tertiary healthcare setting and to analyze age-, gender- and time-related trends in the prevalence of these intestinal parasites over a seven year period (2006-2012).

Methods: The presence of various intestinal parasites in a tertiary care setting over a seven year period in different age groups was determined by performing routine stool microscopy. Modified acid-fast staining was performed for stool samples collected from children less than five years of age for the detection of intestinal coccidian parasites. Statistical analysis was carried out to analyze age-related trends in relation to the prevalence of commonly detected intestinal parasites. Seasonal fluctuations in parasite prevalence were evaluated by performing harmonic regression analysis.

Results: A total of 257,588 stool samples were received over the seven year period for examination. The highest percentage of intestinal parasites was in the 6-10 yr age group. Among the intestinal parasites, Giardia intestinalis had the highest prevalence across most age groups, except in those above 60 yr of age where hookworm became more prevalent. A significant decreasing trend with age was observed for G. intestinalis, whereas for hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis, an increasing trend with age was seen. Significant linear temporal trends were observed for parasites such as G. intestinalis, Entamoeba histolytica and Ascaris lumbricoides.

Interpretation & conclusions: While G. intestinalis was more common in the younger age groups, certain soil-transmitted helminths such as hookworm and S. stercoralis showed a higher prevalence in the older populations. Significant temporal trends and seasonality were observed for some of the common intestinal parasites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Giardia lamblia / isolation & purification*
  • Giardia lamblia / pathogenicity
  • Helminths / isolation & purification*
  • Helminths / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / parasitology*
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / pathology
  • Intestines / parasitology*
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Young Adult