Intestinal parasitic infections and associated factors in children of three rural schools in Colombia. A cross-sectional study




Rural children are one of the populations that are most vulnerable to gastrointestinal parasite infections. Such diseases decrease the quality of life and result in growth and cognitive delays in the long term. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the frequency of intestinal parasite infections among rural schoolchildren in the municipality of Apulo, Colombia. A total of 97 stool samples from children aged between 5 and 15 years were collected and examined via direct light microscopy. Microscopic examination was repeated with sediments obtained using a fecal parasite concentrator, and the Kato–Katz test was performed. Frequency of intestinal parasite infection was 100%. Endolimax nana (77.35%), Blastocystis sp. (71.1%), Giardia intestinalis (39.1%), Entamoeba coli (25.7%), and the Entamoeba histolytica/dispar/moshkovskii complex (9.2%) were the most prevalent protozoa. Trichuris trichiura was the most prevalent helminth (12.3%), followed by Enterobius vermicularis (6.15%) and Ascaris lumbricoides (5.1%). Among the analyzed associated factors, consumption of untreated water increased the risk of acquiring pathogenic intestinal parasites. Finally, because G. intestinalis was the most prevalent pathogenic protozoan, molecular analysis was conducted to establish genetic assemblages and subassemblages of Giardia through sequence-based genotyping of the glutamate dehydrogenase, triose phosphate isomerase, and beta-giardin genes. A total of 14 G. intestinalis-positive samples were genotyped, which revealed the presence of subassemblages AI (n = 1), AII (n = 7), BIII (n = 2), BIV (n = 2), and BIII/BIV (n = 1) as well as a mixed subassemblage AII + BIII (n = 1). Our results indicate that gastrointestinal parasite infections in the tested population were mainly caused by suboptimal water quality. Moreover, molecular typing of G. intestinalis suggested contamination of water by animal- and human-derived cysts.

Palabras clave



Enfermedades gastrointestinales
Salud del niño
Contaminación del agua