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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


APT, Werner et al. Echinococcosis/hydatidosis in Region VII of Chile: diagnosis and educational intervention. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.7, n.1, pp.8-16. ISSN 1680-5348.

This study was designed to embrace three areas: a) serologic and radiologic diagnosis and surgical treatment of hydatidosis in an asymptomatic human population, b) animal diagnosis and the treatment of dogs, and c) evaluation of extent of knowledge and performance of educational interventions among rural families and health, livestock, and education professionals and technicians, in order to help control the disease transmission cycle. Indirect hemagglutination and ELISA tests were performed on 5 556 apparently healthy people. Of these, 42 (0.8%) had positive results on both tests, for a seroprevalence of 754.6 per 100 000. These 42 subjects were scheduled for liver ultrasonography and a chest x-ray; of the 26 who complied, 16 showed images compatible with a hydatid cyst. Those 16 cases were sent to the hospital for surgery. In 9 of the cases the diagnosis was confirmed surgically, for a prevalence of 161.7 per 100 000. Arecoline hydrobromide was administered as a laxative to 2 358 dogs to detect the strobilar form of Echinococcus granulosus, and positive results were found in 11% of the dogs. Official data for slaughterhouses indicated the presence of hydatid cysts in 13% of the cattle, 4.4% of the sheep, and 4.2% of the pigs slaughtered in the region. The educational program included an evaluation of the extent of knowledge by surveying heads of household; an educational intervention among families through an informal active participatory process using educational games, in which 1082 families participated; and an educational intervention with professionals and technicians using distance and inperson approaches. To evaluate the program, the results of knowledge tests before and after educational interventions with 200 families (cases) were compared with those from 95 families who did not participate (controls). Of the 1 423 heads of household initially surveyed about their knowledge of echinococcosis/hydatidosis, 783 of them (55%) said they knew nothing about the infection. It was found that the participatory educational games were well adapted to the lifestyle of people from rural areas and made change possible. Training was provided to 276 health professionals, 201 technical assistants, and 453 rural teachers. The program reached 100% of the staff members of the area's rural primary health care services.

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