Intestinal parasites of children and adults in a remote Aboriginal community of the Northern Territory, Australia, 1994-1996

Jennifer Shield, Kieran Aland, Therese Kearns, Glenda Gongdjalk, Deborah Holt, Bart Currie, Paul Prociv

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    Abstract

    Introduction: Parasitic infections can adversely impact health, nutritional status and educational attainment. This study investigated hookworm and other intestinal parasites in an Aboriginal community in Australia from 1994 to 1996.

    Methods: Seven surveys for intestinal parasites were conducted by a quantitative formol-ether method on faecal samples. Serological testing was conducted for Strongyloides stercoralis and Toxocara canis IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays.

    Results: Of the 314 participants, infections were as follows: Trichuris trichiura (86%); hookworm, predominantly Ancylostoma duodenale (36%); Entamoeba spp. (E. histolytica complex [E. histolytica, E. dispar and E. moskovski], E. coli and E. hartmanni) (25%); S. stercoralis (19%); Rodentolepis nana (16%); and Giardia duodenalis (10%). Serological diagnosis for 29 individuals showed that 28% were positive for S. stercoralis and 21% for T. canis. There was a decrease in the proportion positive for hookworm over the two-year period but not for the other parasite species. The presence of hookworm, T. trichiura and Entamoeba spp. was significantly greater in 5–14 year olds (n = 87) than in 0–4 year olds (n = 41), while the presence of S. stercoralis, R. nana, G. duodenalis and Entamoeba spp. in 5–14 year olds was significantly greater than 15–69 year olds (n = 91).

    Discussion:
    Faecal testing indicated a very high prevalence of intestinal parasites, especially in schoolchildren. The decrease in percentage positive for hookworm over the two years was likely due to the albendazole deworming programme, and recent evidence indicates that the prevalence of hookworm is now low. However there was no sustained decrease in percentage positive for the other parasite species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-51
    Number of pages8
    JournalWestern Pacific surveillance and response journal : WPSAR
    Volume6
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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