Intestinal parasites prevalence and related factors in school children, a western city sample-Turkey

Okyay, Pinar; Ertug, Sema; Gultekin, Berna; Onen, Ozlem; Beser, Erdal
January 2004
BMC Public Health;2004, Vol. 4, p64
Academic Journal
Background: Intestinal parasitic infections are amongst the most common infections worldwide. Epidemiological research carried out in different countries has shown that the social and economical situation of the individuals is an important cause in the prevalence of intestinal parasites. Previous studies in Turkey revealed a high prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection. The objectives of the current study were to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in Aydin among 7-14 years old school children and to identify associated socio-demographic and environmental factors, behavioral habits and also related complaints. Methods: Multistage sampling was used in the selection of the study sample. A questionnaire, cellulose adhesive and a stool specimen examination were done. Results: A total of 456 stool specimens were collected. 145 students (31.8%) were infected with one or more intestinal parasites. 29 (6.4%) of the students were infected more than one parasite, 26 (5.7%) with two parasites and 3 (0.7%) with three parasites. The three most common were E. vermicularis, G. intestinalis and E. coli. Intestinal parasite prevalence was higher in rural area, in children with less than primary school educated mother, in children who use hands for washing anal area after defecation, and in children who use toilet paper sometimes or never. The relation between child health and mother education is well known. Children were traditionally taught to wash anal area by hand. Toiler paper usage was not common and might be due to low income or just a behavioral habit also. Most of the complaints of the study population were not significantly related with the intestinal parasitic infection. Conclusions: Intestinal parasitic infection is an important public health problem in Aydin, Turkey. Rural residence, mother education less than primary school, sometimes or never usage of toilet paper, and washing anal area by hands after defecation were the significant associations. Interventions including health education on personal hygiene to the students and to the parents, especially to mothers are required. The ratio of uneducated women should be declined with specific programs. A multisectoral approach is needed.


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