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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

GAMBOA, María Inés et al. Associations between geohelminths and socioenvironmental conditions among different human populations in Argentina. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.1, pp. 1-8. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009000700001.

OBJECTIVES: To analyze the relationship between the geohelminth species found in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the Buenos Aires and Misiones provinces of Argentina, and the socioenvironmental conditions that promote infection by these parasites. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study that analyzed 700 human fecal samples taken from 319 families residing in an urban population (UP) and two suburban ones (SUP1, SUP2) in the Province of Buenos Aires, and a rural one in Misiones (RP). Thirty-five samples of dog feces and 205 earth samples were taken, plus surveys were performed of the socioenvironmental characteristics of the study areas. The Ritchie, Carles-Barthelemy, Fülleborn, and Kato-Katz parasite analysis techniques were used. RESULTS: The highest incidence of parasites was in RP (78.4%), followed by the suburban areas SUP1 (35.0%) and SUP2 (25.8%), and lastly, the urban area (5.7%). Ancylostomatidae (71.1%) and Strongyloides stercoralis (22.2%) were found only in RP, while Ascaris lumbricoides, Hymenolepis nana, and Trichuris trichiura were most frequent in SUP1. The samples of dog feces from the Misiones province had the highest incidence of parasites (100%) compared to those from Buenos Aires, but the urban dirt from this city proved to be more contaminated. Poor hygiene habits in food preparation and toileting, overcrowding, walking barefoot, and dwellings with dirt floors were significantly associated with a higher frequency of intestinal geohelminths and pseudogeohelminths (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The great number of cases of multiple infestations seen among suburban as well as rural populations calls for special attention and underscores the need for more extensive epidemiological studies that take on the different aspects of this complex issue with the goal of implementing more efficient health initiatives and programs.

Keywords : Helminths; social conditions; Argentina.

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