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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among highland and lowland dwellers in Gamo area, South Ethiopia

Teklu Wegayehu12*, Tsegaye Tsalla3, Belete Seifu1 and Takele Teklu24

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Arba Minch University, P. O. Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

2 PhD candidate in Tropical and Infectious Diseases, Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

3 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Arba Minch University, P. O. Box 21, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

4 School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, University of Gondar, P. O. Box 196, Gondar, Ethiopia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:151  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-151

Published: 18 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Epidemiological information on the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in different regions is a prerequisite to develop appropriate control strategies. Therefore, this present study was conducted to assess the magnitude and pattern of intestinal parasitism in highland and lowland dwellers in Gamo area, South Ethiopia.

Methods

Community-based cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2010 and July 2011 at Lante, Kolla Shelle, Dorze and Geressie kebeles of Gamo Gofa Zone, South Ethiopia. The study sites and study participants were selected using multistage sampling method. Data were gathered through house-to-house survey. A total of 858 stool specimens were collected and processed using direct wet mount and formol-ether concentration techniques for the presence of parasite.

Results

Out of the total examined subjects, 342(39.9%) were found positive for at least one intestinal parasite. The prevalence of Entamoeba histolytica/dispar was the highest 98(11.4%), followed by Giardia lamblia 91(10.6%), Ascaris lumbricoides 67(7.8%), Strongyloides stercoralis 51(5.9%), hookworm 42(4.9%), Trichuris trichiura 24(2.8%), Taenia species 18(2.1%), Hymenolepis nana 7(0.6%) and Schistosoma mansoni 1(0.12%). No statistically significant difference was observed in the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among lowland (37.9%) and highland dwellers (42.3%) (P = 0.185). The prevalence of intestinal parasitic infection was not significantly different among the study sites but it was relatively higher in Geressie (42.8%) than other kebeles. Sex was not associated with parasitic infections (P = 0.481). No statistically significant difference of infection was observed among the age groups (P = 0.228) but it was higher in reproductive age group.

Conclusions

The high prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among the lowland and highland dwellers in Gamo area indicated that parasitic infections are important public health problems. Thus, infection control measures and the development of awareness strategies to improve sanitation and health education should be considered.

Keywords:
Control strategies; Intestinal parasites; Parasitism; Protozoan