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Objective: Intestinal parasitic infection is a major health problem in the southern region of Thailand. Despite an established annual deworming program, many school age children still suffer from parasitic infection. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and health effects of intestinal parasitic infection in school children in Satun Province, Thailand.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in children aged of 3 to 15 years during the period December 2014 to January 2015. Body mass index and hematocrit measurements were performed. Stool samples were collected for parasite detection by direct examination and concentration technique.
Results: The prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection was 18.42%. B.hominis (29%), Giardia lamblia (13.3%), Trichuris trichiura (13.3%), and hookworm (13.3%) were the most commonly isolated parasites. School KY had the highest rate of intestinal parasitic infection, followed by schools RC, YT, and SD. Rate of soil-transmitted helminthic (STH) infection was highest at school RC, while the highest rate of protozoa infection was found at school KY. Only STH infection was significantly associated with anemia. No significant association was observed between weight status and parasitic infection.
Conclusion: Intestinal parasitic infection continues to be a problem in school children in Satun Province, Thailand. STH infection was found to be significantly associated with anemia. The majority of parasite types detected at each school varied substantially, which may indicate distinctly different sanitation-related problems at each school.
Therefore, improvement in personal sanitation and health education should be emphasized at every school in the area to prevent parasitic infection.
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