Intestinal protozoa infections, associated risk factors and clinical features among children in a low-income tea plantation community in Sri Lanka
Keywords:Intestinal protozoa infections, Risk factors, Clinical features, Children, Sri Lanka
Background: Information on associated factors and current health impact on intestinal protozoa infections in tea plantation community in Sri Lanka is insufficient. The purpose of this study was to describe risk factors and clinical manifestations of intestinal protozoa infections among children in a tea plantation community in Sri Lanka.
Methods: An interviewer administered structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics and clinical features of children. Protozoa infections were diagnosed by direct wet smears, formal-ether concentration technique and Ziehl-Neelsen staining technique.
Results: 489 children aged 1–12 years participated and the overall prevalence of intestinal protozoan infection was 18.4%. Entamoeba coli was the most common intestinal protozoa (16.9%) followed by Blastocystis hominis (1.4%), Iodamoeba buschilli (0.2%), Entamoeba histolytica (0.2%) and Giardia intestinalis (0.2%). Multivariate analysis identified eating unwashed fruits (p=0.003), nail biting (p=0.024) and sucking fingers (p=0.018) as statistically significant factors with intestinal protozoa infections.
Conclusions: Health education programs promoting awareness about health and hygiene and improving sanitation facilities are recommended to reduce the morbidity associated with intestinal protozoa infections among this population.
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