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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Apr;98(4):1179-1185. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0559. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

Island-Wide Surveillance of Gastrointestinal Protozoan Infection on Fiji by Expanding Lymphatic Filariasis Transmission Assessment Surveys as an Access Platform.

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Department of Parasitology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Ministry of Health, Dinem House, Suva, Republic of Fiji.
School of Geography, Earth Science, and Environment, The University of South Pacific, Suva, Republic of Fiji.
Department of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Laboratory of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, The Netherlands.


As part of lymphatic filariasis (LF) transmission assessment surveys (TAS) on Fiji, an island-wide assessment of gastrointestinal protozoan infection was performed by inspection of a concomitant stool sample collection to investigate the distribution of parasitic protozoa. All grade 1 and 2 students of 69 schools on the two main islands were targeted in two phases (one in the Western Division and the other in the Central and Northern Divisions, except Taveuni sub-Division of Northern), where fecal samples of 1,800 students were available for coproscopy using formalin-ether-acetate concentration. The overall prevalence of Giardia infection was 1.6%, having 2.2% in Western and 0.8% in Central/Northern Divisions (P = 0.094). The school-level prevalence of giardiasis ranged from 0% to 15.4%, and hotspot analysis using the Getis-Ord Gi* method detected spatial heterogeneity of giardiasis prevalence in schools around Lautoka (Z-score = 3.36, P value < 0.05), an area affected by Cyclone Kofi in February 2014. Any protozoan infection prevalence was 4.9% in Western and 4.4% in Central/Northern Divisions (P = 0.825). Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis to confirm the findings from a parasitological examination of a 10% stool archive in 95% ethanol from Western Division revealed an elevated prevalence of giardiasis up to 22.4%, the presence of Entamoeba histolytica, and the absence of Cryptosporidium parvum. Obtaining stool samples alongside LF TAS is a convenient access platform for cosurveillance of gastrointestinal protozoan infection and has pinpointed hitherto unknown hotspots of giardiasis in urban city centers of Fiji. This calls for greater attention to apply tailored water, sanitation and hygiene measures for the control of these parasites.

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