Prevalence and Risk Factors for Intestinal Parasitic Infection in Schoolchildren in Battambang, Cambodia

Chien-Wei Liao Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Tropical Medicine Division, International Master/PhD Program in Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Kuan-Chih Chiu Institute of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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I-Chen Chiang Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Po-Ching Cheng Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Tropical Medicine Division, International Master/PhD Program in Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Ting-Wu Chuang Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Tropical Medicine Division, International Master/PhD Program in Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Juo-Han Kuo Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Yun-Hung Tu Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Chia-Kwung Fan Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Tropical Medicine Division, International Master/PhD Program in Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.

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Most intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs), commonly endemic in tropical resource-poor developing countries, are neglected tropical diseases. Parasitic infections and malnutrition are most commonly found in children. We determined the prevalence of IPIs and the risk factors in Battambang Province, northwestern Cambodia, from August to September 2015. This study collected 308 valid questionnaires and specimens from Dontri (173, 56.2%) and Kon Kaêk (135, 43.8%) primary schools. All stool samples were examined using Chang's Feces Examination Apparatus through the merthiolate–iodine–formaldehyde technique. Headache (259, 84.1%), recurrent cough (249, 80.8%), and abdominal pain (235, 76.3%) were the most common symptoms as detected from questionnaire investigation. A total of 155 students were positive for any parasite type; a single parasite type was observed in 97 students (31.5%), two types in 40 students (13.0%), three types in 14 students (4.6%), and four types in four students (1.3%). Nine gastrointestinal parasite species (three helminths and six protozoa) were identified in the stool samples. The most common parasites in schoolchildren were Giardia intestinalis (31.5%) and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (17.5%). This is the first IPIs study, and more than half of the schoolchildren were infected with parasite species in Moung Russey District of Battambang Province. We found nine parasite species, including helminths and protozoa, and pathogenic protozoa were the main source of IPIs. Improving the detection method, sanitation facilities, and personal hygiene as well as utilizing combined drugs are all important measures to greatly reduce IPIs in Cambodian schoolchildren.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Chia-Kwung Fan, 250 Wu-Hsing Street, Taipei, 11001, Taiwan. E-mail: tedfan@tmu.edu.tw

Authors' addresses: Chien-Wei Liao, Po-Ching Cheng, Ting-Wu Chuang, and Chia-Kwung Fan, Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, Taipei Medical University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan, and Taipei Medical University, Tropical Medicine Division, International Master/PhD Program in Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, E-mails: liao_0422@tmu.edu.tw, bonjovi@tmu.edu.tw, chtingwu@tmu.edu.tw, and tedfan@tmu.edu.tw. Kuan-Chih Chiu, Institute of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, Taipei, National Taiwan University, Taiwan, E-mail: v47526@hotmail.com. I-Chen Chiang, Juo-Han Kuo, and Yun-Hung Tu, Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, E-mails: yijane0907@gmail.com, michellekukuo@gmail.com, and jj45862001@yahoo.com.tw.

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