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A Cross-Sectional Study on Intestinal Parasitic Infections in Children in Suburban Public Primary Schools, Saraburi, the Central Region of Thailand

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  • 1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand;
  • 2 King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand;
  • 3 Lymphatic Filariasis and Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn Medical Research Center (Chula MRC), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Intestinal parasitic infection rate among school-aged children in Thailand has been decreasing. However, certain intestinal parasites remain problematic in some regions. This cross-sectional study was conducted between February and September 2016 in three suburban government primary schools (KK, BR, and HK), Saraburi, Thailand. Stool was collected from 263 asymptomatic subjects (4–15 years old), using simple direct smear, formalin–ether concentration, Boeck and Drbohlav’s Locke–Egg–Serum (LES) medium culture, and agar plate culture. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data about lifestyle and socioeconomic status. The overall rate of intestinal parasites was 22.1% (15.6% single infection and 6.5% multiple infections). The helminths involving the digestive system found were Strongyloides stercoralis (1.5%) and Opisthorchis viverrini (0.4%). For protozoan infection, the major cause was Blastocystis hominis (17.5%). The other protozoa included Endolimax nana (4.6%), Entamoeba coli (3.4%), Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar (1.1%), and Giardia intestinalis (0.8%). The sensitivity for the detection of B. hominis increased with the LES culture technique. The infection rate of each organism was not significantly different among the three schools except for B. hominis which showed the highest prevalence in the HK school (P = 0.001). This was correlated with the questionnaire results in which the HK school showed the highest risk of drinking contaminated water (P = 0.004). The present study emphasized the persistent problems of protozoan infections among suburban school-aged children. Lifestyle was still an important factor for intestinal parasitic infections among suburban school-aged Thai children in this study. Health education as well as routine surveillance was necessary to control the infections.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Surang Nuchprayoon, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, 1873 Rama IV Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. E-mail: fmedstt@gmail.com

Financial support: Strong Saraburi Community Grant, Chulalongkorn University.

Authors’ addresses: Buravej Assavapongpaiboon, Uthaitip Bunkasem, and Vivornpun Sanprasert, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, E-mails: buravej@gmail.com, trady_bear@hotmail.com, and vivornpun@yahoo.com. Surang Nuchprayoon, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Lymphatic Filariasis and Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn Medical Research Center (Chula MRC), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, E-mail: fmedstt@gmail.com.

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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