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Pan American Journal of Public Health Rev Panam Salud Publica 37(2), 2015 69 Prevalence of intestinal helminths, anemia, and malnutrition in Paucartambo, Peru Miguel M. Cabada, 1 Mary R. Goodrich, 2 Brittany Graham, 2 Pablo G. Villanueva-Meyer, 2 Emily L. Deichsel, 3 Martha Lopez, 1 Eulogia Arque, 1 and A. Clinton White, Jr. 2 Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) in- fections are among the most common infections, primarily affecting the poor- est sectors of the population. In 2010, an estimated 819 million people world- wide were infected with Ascaris lumbri- coides , 464 million with Trichuris trichura , and 438 million with hookworm (1). In Peru, the observed prevalence of STH infections among school-aged children ranges from 1.6 to 77.9 percent (2). In- fection prevalence varies greatly with geography, with prevalence lower in ur- ban areas of Lima (3) and higher in rural areas of the Amazon (4). Briones-Chavez et al. (5) reported higher risk for STH infections among settlers than among indigenous populations from isolated regions of Peru, indicating that varia- tions may also depend on the specific population groups tested. In contrast, little information is available about the prevalence and impact of STH infections in the Peruvian Andes region. STH infections are rarely fatal but cause chronic morbidity. The global bur- den of STHs is estimated at nearly 5 mil- lion years lived with disability (1). Chil- dren are at highest risk of infection and carry the highest disease burden (1, 6, 7). Malnutrition and anemia are associated with infection and arise from a combina- tion of mechanisms that involve chronic inflammation, malabsorption, and blood Objective. To evaluate the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infections, anemia, and malnutrition among children in the Paucartambo province of Cusco region, Peru, in light of demographic, socio-economic, and epidemiologic contextual factors. Methods. Children from three to twelve years old from six communities in Huancarani district in the highlands of Peru were evaluated for helminth infections, anemia, and nutri- tional status. Data collected included demographic variables, socioeconomic status, exposures, complete blood counts, and direct and sedimentation stool tests. Results. Of 240 children analyzed, 113 (47%) were infected with one or more parasites. Giardia (27.5%) and Fasciola (9.6%) were the most commonly identified organisms. Eo- sinophilia was encountered in 21% of the children. Anemia (48.8%) was associated with age (3–4 vs 5–12 years old; odds ratio (OR): 5.86; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.81–12.21). Un- derweight (10%) was associated with male sex (OR: 5.97; CI: 1.12–31.72), higher eosinophil count (OR: 4.67; CI: 1.31–16.68) and education of the mother (OR: 0.6; CI: 0.4–0.9). Stunt- ing (31.3%) was associated with education of the mother (OR: 0.83; CI: 0.72–0.95); wasting (2.7%) was associated with higher eosinophil count (OR: 2.75; CI: 1.04–7.25).
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