INTESTINAL PARASITE INFESTATION AND ITS RISK FACTORS: A CROSS-SECTIONAL SURVEY AMONG CHILDREN IN DUHOK CITY, KURDISTAN REGION IRAQ
Background: A cross-sectional study concerning the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection among children in Duhok city was carried out from September 2018 to the end of October 2019.
This study aimed to show the prevalence and establish some risk factors associated with gastrointestinal parasite infection in children of both sexes in the age group ranging from(<1-12) years old in Duhok city, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.
Method: A total of (1548) stool Specimens were collected and tested successively, 1310 from the Heevi Pediatric Teaching Hospital and 238 from the primary school in Duhok city. Both sexes in the age group (<1-12) years old were involved. All stool specimens were examined microscopically using wet mount smear, concentrations, and Modified Zihel- Neelsen stain methods.
Results: The overall prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections was 869(56.14%). Cryptosporidium spp. 709(66.08%), Entamoeba spp. 302(28.15%), Giardia lamblia 61(5.68%) and Ascaris lumbricoides 1(0.09%) were the common parasites found. Among 869(56.14%) positive specimens, intestinal parasites were detected as a single 670(77.1%), double 194(22.32%), and triple 5(0.575%) infection. Male children between the ages of 1–5 years old showed the highest infection rate 280(31.81%). The prevalence of intestinal parasite infections was significantly related to gender (p<0.05) and the seasons of the year during the period of study (p <0.001). However, statistically significant associations between children infection with parasites and body weight and educational status of their parents were not observed. Modified Acid-Fast Stain used only for Cryptosporidium spp. detection.
Conclusion: In Heevi Pediatric Teaching Hospital, the wet mount method is the only method for detecting intestinal parasites; this can leads to missing detection of many parasites. Therefore, modified acid-fast stain and concentration methods are recommended to reach the best results. Education on personal hygiene and environmental sanitation is required to reduce the prevalence of intestinal parasites among children in Duhok.
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