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Parasitol Res. 2010 Jul;107(2):295-307. doi: 10.1007/s00436-010-1861-7. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Prevalence of intestinal parasites versus knowledge, attitudes, and practices of inhabitants of low-income communities of Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil.

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Laboratório de Ecoepidemiologia e Controle da Esquistossomose e Geohelmintoses, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Intestinal parasites are the causative agents of common infections responsible for significant public health problems in developing countries and generally linked to lack of sanitation, safe water, and improper hygiene. More than two billion people throughout the world live with unrelenting illness due to intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs). The purposes of this study are to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices on IPIs and investigate the relationship with prevalence of intestinal parasites among a low-income group of inhabitants from two communities of the Travessão District area, Campos dos Goytacazes, north of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. The two communities are known as "Parque Santuário," which is an urban slum with miserable living conditions, and "Arraial," where the socioeconomic and educational levels are better, neither having a sanitary infrastructure with an excreta collection system. Questionnaires revealed that both communities had local and specific codification to denominate the intestinal parasites and present correct knowledge on the theme but ignored some aspects of IPI transmission, with the Arraial population being better informed (p < 0.05). The overall prevalence of IPIs in Parque Santuário (49.7%) was greater than in Arraial (27.2%) (p < 0.001; prevalence ratio/95% confidence interval 1.83/1.50-2.23). This study reports the real IPI situation in the Travessão District and also reinforces the need to continue the investigation on the impact of combined prophylactic methods, educational measures, and socioeconomic and sanitary improvements by governmental authorities and the local popular organization.

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