Intestinal parasitic infections among expatriate workers in various occupations in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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Abstract

Intestinal parasitic infections are prevalent throughout many countries. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasite carriers among 21,347 expatriate workers, including food handlers and housemaids attending the public health center laboratory in Sharjah, UAE. Stool sample collection was performed throughout the period between January and December 2013. All samples were examined microscopically. Demographic data were also obtained and analyzed. Intestinal parasites were found in 3.3% (708/21,347) of the studied samples (single and multiple infections). Among positive samples, six hundred and eighty-three samples (96.5%) were positive for a single parasite: Giardia lamblia (257; 36.3%) and Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar (220; 31.1%), respectively, whereas mono-infections with helminths accounted for 206 (29.1%) of the samples. Infection rates with single worms were: Ascaris lumbricoides (84; 11.9%), Hookworm (34; 4.8%), Trichuris trichiura (33; 4.7%), Taenia spp. (27; 3.81%), Strongyloides stercoralis (13; 1.8%), Hymenolepis nana (13; 1.8%), and Enterobius vermicularis (2; 0.28%), respectively. Infections were significantly associated with gender (x2 = 14.18; p = 0.002) with males as the most commonly infected with both groups of intestinal parasites (protozoa and helminths). A strong statistical association was noted correlating the parasite occurrence with certain nationalities (x2= 49.5, p <0.001). Furthermore, the study has also found a strong statistical correlation between parasite occurrence and occupation (x2= 15.60; p = 0.029). Multiple infections were not common (3.5% of the positive samples), although one individual (0.14%) had four helminth species, concurrently. These findings emphasized that food handlers with different pathogenic parasitic organisms may pose a significant health risk to the public.

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Dafalla, A. I. A., Almuhairi, S. A. S. O., AlHosani, M. H. J., Mohamed, M. Y., Alkous, M. I. A., AlAzzawi, M. A., … ElBakri, A. (2017). Intestinal parasitic infections among expatriate workers in various occupations in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Revista Do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Sao Paulo, 59. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1678-9946201759082

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