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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 171-179

Identification of intestinal parasite infections and associated risk factors in indigenous Tsáchilas communities of Ecuador


1 One Health Research Group, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Universidad De Las Américas, Quito, Ecuador
2 School of Medicine, College of Medical Science, Universidad Central del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
3 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA
4 Department of Global Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Manuel Calvopina
Universidad De Las Américas, Jose Queri s/n entre Av. Granados y Av. Eloy Alfaro. PO BOX. 17-17-9788, Quito
Ecuador
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_15_19

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Background/Aim: Tsáchilas are an indigenous group living in a rural tropical rain forest of Western Ecuador. Few studies have been conducted in Ecuador where intestinal parasite infections (IPIs) and associated risk factors have been examined. Hence, the aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of IPIs and identify the associated risk factors in Tsáchilas populations. Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted from August to October 2013 in seven Tsáchilas communities. The study consisted of 586 participants, and stool samples were examined microscopically using the formalin-ether concentration technique. Results: Protozoa infections were more common than helminth infections (54.9% vs. 34.1%), and 68.1% of samples were found to contain one or more parasites. Ascaris lumbricoides was the most prevalent (29.4%), with Giardia duodenalis, Blastocystis hominis, and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar showing a prevalence of 3.9%, 19.6%, and 12.5%, respectively. Ova of Amphimerus and Paragonimus, two unexpected liver and lung flukes, respectively, were also found. A logistic model with forward selection showed the following variables to predict parasite infection: age (6–10 years) (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5–5.1, P = 0.001), unclean water supply (OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.14–2.4, P = 0.01), handwashing practice (OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.27–4.97, P = 0.01), and not washing food before eating (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.09–2.21, P = 0.01). Conclusions: The study shows that IPIs are highly prevalent among the Tsáchilas, which might be attributed to their low socioeconomic standards and poor hygienic habits. Educating the communities on risk factors which pose the highest risk of infection, in combination with a mandatory treatment program, would significantly lower the parasitic burden. The following Graduate Medical Education core competencies were addressed: Medical knowledge, Practice-based learning, Communication skills.


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