Infection by intestinal parasites, stunting and anemia in school-aged children from southern Angola

Dinamene Oliveira, Filipa Santana Ferreira, Jorge Atouguia, Filomeno Fortes, António Guerra, Sónia Centeno-Lima

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Introduction: Intestinal parasites are responsible for morbidity in children worldwide, especially in low income countries. In the present study we determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites and explore its association with anemia and stunting in school-aged children. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from September to October 2010 enrolling 328 children attending the primary school in Lubango, the second largest city after the capital Luanda. Stool samples were collected for parasite detection through microscopy and molecular identification of Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar. Stunting was assessed using the z-scores of height for age and hemoglobin concentration was determined using a portable hemoglobin analyzing system. Results: The global prevalence of pathogenic intestinal parasites was 44.2%, the most common being Ascaris lumbricoides (22.0%), Giardia lamblia (20.1%) and Hymenolepis nana (8.8%). Molecular detection revealed that 13.1% of the children carried E. dispar and 0.3% were infected with E. histolytica. The prevalence of stunting (mild to severe) was 41.5%. Stunting was more frequent in older children (p = 0.006, OR = 1.886), while anemia was more frequent in younger children (p = 0.005, OR = 2.210). The prevalence of anemia was 21.6%, and we found a significant association with infection by H. nana (p = 0.031, OR = 2.449). Conclusions: This is one of the few published studies reporting intestinal parasites infection, nutritional status and anemia in children from Angola. Furthermore, the present work highlights the importance of regular intestinal parasites screening in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0137327
JournalPlosOne
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2015

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