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BMC Public Health. 2017 Jun 9;17(1):564. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4486-2.

Prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection and associated risk factors among village health volunteers in rural communities of southern Thailand.

Author information

1
School of Medicine, Walailak University, 222 Thasala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand. chuchard.pu@wu.ac.th.
2
Tropical Diseases and Parasitic Infectious Diseases Research Group, Walailak University, 222 Thasala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand. chuchard.pu@wu.ac.th.
3
School of Medicine, Walailak University, 222 Thasala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.
4
Tropical Diseases and Parasitic Infectious Diseases Research Group, Walailak University, 222 Thasala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.
5
Noppitum Hospital, Noppitum District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80161, Thailand.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Intestinal parasitic infections remain prevalent and constitute a public health problem in certain rural areas of Thailand. Village health volunteers (VHVs), who are members of a Thai healthcare alliance, function as key providers of health prevention measures, disease control, and health education and share national health promotion campaigns with community members. This study is aimed at evaluating the prevalence, intensity, and risk factors for intestinal parasitic infection in VHVs in order to design community awareness and health education campaigns for the target population.

METHODS:

This cross-sectional study was conducted between January to April 2016 among village health volunteers (VHVs) from four sub-districts of Nopphitam District, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, southern Thailand. Subjects for the study were selected using a simple random sampling method. Socio-demographic variables and risk factors were collected by a structured questionnaire. Stool specimens were collected and processed using direct wet mount and formol-ether concentration techniques to determine the presence of parasites and modified Kato-Katz thick smear to determine the intensity of infection.

RESULTS:

A total of 324 VHVs were enrolled. The overall prevalence of intestinal helminths was 9.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.3-13.0). The prevalence of hookworm, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Trichuris trichiura were 8.0% (95% CI: 5.3-11.5), 0.9% (95% CI: 0.2-2.7), and 0.3% (95% CI: 0-1.7), respectively. Mean intensity of hookworm infection was 1732 eggs per gram of stool. The prevalence was lower for protozoan infection than for helminth infection. Blastocystis hominis accounted for the highest percentage of intestinal protozoan infections 4.0% (95% CI: 2.2-6.8), followed by Giardia intestinalis 0.6% (95% CI: 0-2.2). No statistically significant difference was observed in the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection among sub-districts (p > 0.05). Having dogs at home was associated with soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection in study participants (Crude prevalence ratio [CPR]: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.0-5.2).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study is the first to describe the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection VHVs from southern Thailand. Hookworm infection is more prevalent than other types of STH infection. The development of community awareness campaigns and appropriate control measures should be considered to reduce the prevalence of hookworm infection, especially among VHVs who are the key persons providing health education to the community.

KEYWORDS:

Intestinal parasitic infection; Nakhon Si Thammarat Province; Risk factors; Thailand; Village health volunteers

PMID:
28599633
PMCID:
PMC5466724
DOI:
10.1186/s12889-017-4486-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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