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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Jan;84(1):38-42. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0442.

Wealth and its associations with enteric parasitic infections in a low-income community in Peru: use of principal component analysis.

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  • 1Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The association of wealth and infections with Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, and microsporidia were examined in a longitudinal cohort conducted in Peru from 2001 to 2006. Data from 492 participants were daily clinical manifestations, weekly copro-parasitological diagnosis, and housing characteristics and assets owned (48 variables), and these data were used to construct a global wealth index using principal component analysis. Data were analyzed using continuous and categorical (wealth tertiles) models. Participant's mean age was 3.43 years (range = 0-12 years), with average follow-up of 993 days. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified significant associations between wealth and infections with Giardia and microsporidia. Participants with greater wealth indexes were associated with protection against Giardia (P < 0.001) and persistent Giardia infections (> 14 days). For microsporidia, greater wealth was protective (P = 0.066 continuous and P = 0.042 by tertiles). Contrarily, infections with Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora were independent of wealth. Thus, subtle differences in wealth may affect the frequency of specific parasitic infections within low-income communities.

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