Epidemiological study on Intestinal Parasitic Infections among Children attending Day-Care Centers, Quetta, Pakistan
Intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) are globally endemic affecting the health, growth and development of children world-wide including Pakistan. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the current epidemiological status of IPIs and identify associated risk factors among children from day-care centers in Quetta, Pakistan.
Methods: The study involved pre-structured questionnaire and stool tests to obtain epidemiological and disease data. Stool specimens were collected from 150 children [87 males (58%), 63 females (42%)], aged ≤5 years (3.8±1.6). Data were statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics and univariate logistic regression methods. Specimens were examined for parasitic infections using saline and Lugol’s wet mount preparation and formol-ether concentration technique.
Results: The overall prevalence of IPIs was 28.7% (43/150) (95% CI:21.5-35.9). Children infected with single parasite were 22.7% while 6% represented ployparasitism. The prevalence of protozoan parasitic infections were higher 21.3% (32/150) than helminthic infection 15.3% (23/150). The most common parasite was Entamoebahistolytica 14% (21/150), followed by Hymenolepis nana 8.7% (13/150), Giardia lamblia 7.3% (11/150). Other parasites with lower rates of occurrence were Ascarislumbricoides (4.0%), Taeniaspp (1.3%), and Trichuristrichiura (1.3%). Age (OR=3.5;95% CI:1.56 –8.08), Maternal education (OR=2.5;95% CI:1.2-5.2), type of drinking water (treated/untreated) (OR=2.44;95% CI:1.14 –5.26), hand-washing practice (OR=2.19, 95% CI:1.0-4.6), and soil-eating habit (OR=4.5;95% CI:2.0-10.0) were significantly associated with IPIs. However, no significant difference was found with gender and family size (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Due to high occurrence of IPIs among children in Quetta day-care centers, the need for screening, deworming programmes, treatment and health education is advocated.