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Indian J Med Res. 2014 Jan;139(1):76-82.

Prevalence & risk factors for soil transmitted helminth infection among school children in south India.

Author information

1
Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES:

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are a major public health problem in tropical and sub-tropical countries, affecting the physical growth and cognitive development in school-age children. This study was aimed to assess the prevalence and risk factors of STH infection among school children aged 6 -14 yr in Vellore and Thiruvanamalai districts in south India.

METHODS:

Children aged 6-14 yr, going to government and government aided schools (n=33, randomly selected) in Vellore and Thiruvanamalai districts were screened to estimate the prevalence of STH, and a case control study was done on a subset to assess the risk factors for the infection.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of STH was 7.8 per cent, varying widely in schools from 0 to 20.4 per cent, in 3706 screened children. Hookworm (8.4%) rates were high in rural areas, while Ascaris (3.3%) and Trichuris (2.2%) were more prevalent among urban children. Consumption of deworming tablets (OR=0.25, P < 0.01) offered protection, while residing in a field hut (OR=6.73, P=0.02) and unhygienic practices like open air defaecation (OR=5.37, P < 0.01), keeping untrimmed nails (OR=2.53, P=0.01) or eating food fallen on the ground (OR=2.52, P=0.01) were important risk factors for STH infection.

INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS:

Our study indicated that school children with specific risk factors in the studied area were vulnerable subpopulation with elevated risk of STH infection. Identifying risk factors and dynamics of transmission in vulnerable groups can help to plan for effective prevention strategies.

Comment in

PMID:
24604041
PMCID:
PMC3994744
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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