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Ascaris-Trichuris association and malnutrition in Brazilian children






Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 13(1): 89-98

Ascaris-Trichuris association and malnutrition in Brazilian children

This study was designed to assess the association between stunting and helminthic infections by studying children aged 1-12 years living in a rural area near Sao Paolo, Brazil. A total of 520 children were studied through a questionnaire concerning housing, socioeconomic conditions and a 24-hour food intake recall. Measurement of weight and height were also performed, and three stool samples were collected on consecutive days for parasitological analysis. The study has demonstrated a positive association between intestinal parasites and stunting in children. Intestinal parasites were present in 79% and stunting in 11.5% of children from the sample. 56.7% of the children with stunting were between 5 and 12 years of age, which justified the unusual inclusion of children above 5 years of age. The most prevalent intestinal parasites detected were Giardia lamblia (44%), Endolimax nana (43%), Ascaris lumbricoides (41%), and Trichuris trichiura (40%). In the study, no children reported diarrhea and/or fever. Nevertheless, the mechanism of parasitic infections includes anorexia, type of food intake, intestinal villus damage, competition for nutrients, facilitation of bacterial colonization, increase in energy requirements, decrease in hepatic protein synthesis, protein-losing enteropathy, and blood loss. Inadequate daily caloric intake was observed in 78% of the population, and the proportion of those with inadequate protein intake was 34%. Stunting was significantly associated with estimators of low economic income, inadequate protein intake and polyparasitism.

Accession: 003046717

PMID: 9987788

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3016.1999.00145.x

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