Background: The prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infection is high in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), reaching 62% among school-children. However, this prevalence presents wide regional variations, due to differences in healthcare access and environmental factors. Curiously, there are few studies on helminth infections in pre-school children - an age group targeted by the national de-worming campaign. Therefore, a preliminary study was conducted in a remote region of Huaphan Province, North Laos, to determine the prevalence of helminth infections in pre-school children.
Results: A total of 74 pre-school aged children provided stool samples for this study. Parasite eggs were detected in 41.9% with Ascaris lumbricoides being most common (32.4%). Presence of parasites was significantly associated with distance from health centres.
Conclusions: Such a high prevalence of helminth infection indicates that the national deworming campaign is not adequate in the remote areas, in particular in villages distant from health care centres. It is necessary to ensure the proper administration of anti-helminthics to all children and to adapt the implementation of deworming campaigns to the specificities of each province.
Keywords: Lao PDR; Prevalence; Soil-transmitted-helminths.