Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
PEZZANI, Betina C. et al. Community participation in the control of intestinal parasitoses at a rural site in Argentina. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.6, pp. 471-477. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009001200001.
OBJECTIVES: To design, implement, and evaluate a complex plan of actions aimed at reducing parasitoses in a rural town in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the involvement of the community. METHODS: The project took place in General Mansilla, Buenos Aires province, in three stages. First, the initial epidemiological situation of intestinal parasitoses in the community was assessed by analyzing for parasites a series of stool samples and anal swabs taken from a sample of 522 individuals. Second, interventions were implemented: the pharmacological treatment of the infected individuals, and health education for the public involving local promoters. Third, the pharmacological treatment was evaluated with followup stool testing for those treated; the health education effort was evaluated through a survey and stool testing for parasites of those who had participated solely in the education. RESULTS: The frequency of intestinal parasitoses was 58.2%; of the total, 43.9% were protozoa and 35.2%, helminths. The most common pathogens were Enterobius vermicularis, Blastocystis hominis, and Giardia lamblia. The deworming treatment reduced intestinal parasitoses to 15.1% (P < 0.001), and was more effective in helminths than in protozoa. Intestinal parasitoses declined following the health education intervention, in general (from 58.2% to 47.9%; P = 0.019), as well as for helminths (from 35.2% to 20.3%; P < 0.001), and hygiene habits improved significantly. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment of parasitosis and the educational intervention provided by local promoters made it possible to reduce parasitic diseases-particularly those caused by helminths-in the community under study. We recommend extending this experience to other rural communities and broadening the interventions to cutoff additional modes of transmission, such as water and food.
Keywords : Intestinal diseases, parasitic; health education; community health aides; Argentina.