Dramatic decrease in prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths and new insights into intestinal protozoa in children living in the Chaco Region, Bolivia

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Abstract

We assessed the prevalence of intestinal parasites among 268 2-12-year-old children living in rural areas, small villages, and semi-urban areas of the Chaco region, south-eastern Bolivia. The overall parasitism was 69%. Only protozoa, helminths, or co-infections were observed in 89.2%, 5.9%, or 4.9% of the positive children, respectively. A significant progressive increase in overall parasite prevalence was found when passing from rural areas to small villages and semi-urban areas. The most commonly found species were Entamoeba coli (38.4%), Giardia intestinalis (37.7%), and Blastocystis spp. (16%). Hymenolepis nana was the most prevalent helminth (5.6%), followed by Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworms (1.5% and 0.4%) evidenced only in rural areas and in villages. Molecular diagnostics identified Blastocystis subtypes 9 and 2, and 5 infections by Entamoeba histolytica and 4 by Entamoeba dispar. The dramatic decrease in prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths with respect to that observed about 20 years ago (> 40%) evidences the success of the preventive chemotherapy intervention implemented in 1986. Health education and improved sanitation should be intensified to control protozoan infections.

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Macchioni, F., Segundo, H., Gabrielli, S., Totino, V., Gonzales, P. R., Salazar, E., … Cancrini, G. (2015). Dramatic decrease in prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths and new insights into intestinal protozoa in children living in the Chaco Region, Bolivia. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 92(4), 794–796. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.14-0039

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