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Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Feb;28(1):169-74.

Nematode intestinal parasites of children in rural Guinea, Africa: prevalence and relationship to geophagia.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1243, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Intestinal parasitism is common among children in developing countries, but the risk factors for infection are not well characterized.

METHODS:

A stool examination was performed on 286 randomly selected children aged 1-18 years from three rural villages in Guinea, Africa. Information collected by questionnaire was used to examine the relationship between geophagia and infection with intestinal nematodes acquired by ingestion versus skin penetration.

RESULTS:

Fifty-three per cent of children were infected by at least one type of soil-transmitted nematode. Geophagia was reported by parents to occur in 57%, 53%, and 43%, of children ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-18 years, respectively. The pattern of geophagia by age and gender of the children more closely resembled the infection pattern for the two orally acquired and soil-transmitted nematodes (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura) than it did the infection pattern for the two soil-transmitted nematodes that infect by skin penetration (hookworm, Strongyloides stercoralis).

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings demonstrate that geophagia is an important risk factor for orally acquired nematode infections in African children. Education regarding geophagia prevention should be an integral component of any soil-transmitted parasite control programme.

PMID:
10195684
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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