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This study was designed to examine the height-for-age z-scores (HAZ), and the prevalence of intestinal inflammation, gastrointestinal infections with parasites, and enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) in rural Panamanian children. Stool microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for EAEC detected Giardia lamblia (32%, 32 of 100) and EAEC (13%, 11 of 87) in the study participants, respectively. Anthropometric analyses showed that those children who were > 12 months of age had lower HAZ scores (mean of −1.449) than the reference population. As a group, the children in the study 1 to 5 years of age did not show recovery from the previously mentioned decline in terms of their HAZ. The HAZ means of the children infected with G. lamblia, EAEC, and Ascaris lumbricoides were −1.49, −1.67, and −2.11, respectively. Furthermore, the study participants with A. lumbricoides and EAEC infections in the presence of lactoferrin showed another decrease of 0.19 and 0.13, respectively, in their HAZ means.
Financial support: This work received financial support from the Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovación (SENACYT, Panamá) grant No. FID08-048, the Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud (ICGES, Panama), and the University of Virginia's Panama Initiative Student Scholar Program and the Center for Global Health-University Scholar Award Program.
Disclosure: Azael Saldaña and Jose E. Calzada are members of Sistema Nacional de Investigación (SNI), SENACYT-Panama.
Authors' addresses: Elena Jiménez Gutiérrez, Richard L. Guerrant, Jones B. Lima Neto, and Relana C. Pinkerton, Center for Global Health, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, RLG9A@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu, Jb5vk@virginia.edu, and email@example.com. Vanessa Pineda, Jose E. Calzada, and Azael Saldaña, Departamento de Parasitología, Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud (ICGES), Panama City, Panama, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprint requests: Azael Saldaña, Departamento de Parasitología, Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, Apartado Postal No. 0816-02593, Panama City, Republic of Panama, Tel: 507-227-4111, Fax: 507-225-4366, E-mail: email@example.com.