Volume 46, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Hydrogen breath tests were performed in Gabon (Central Africa) after a loading dose of lactose in 67 well-nourished African children (50 with intestinal parasites and 17 unparasitized) and in 18 unparasitized young adults. All had normal nutritional status, and none had diarrhea or digestive symptoms. Parasites that were found included in 76% of the parasitized children, in 58%, in 24%, in 20%, in 16%, and in 14%. A similar proportion of parasitized (64%) or unparasitized (62.8%) subjects were lactose malabsorbers. infection was associated with a higher, but not significantly different, proportion of lactose intolerance (10 of 12, 83.3%). The presence of infection with or did not increase the percentage of lactose malabsorption. These data indicate that a decrease of lactase activity in well-nourished African children is not related to the presence or the importance of or other intestinal parasites if the nutritional status is normal.


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