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Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites in Isfahan Municipal Workers

Keywords: Intestinal Parasites , Prevalence , Municipal Workers , Esfahan

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Abstract:

Background and Aim: Intestinal parasites cause significant morbidity and mortality and are considered by the World Health Organization as a public health problem of global importance. These agents are estimated to infect more than three billion people worldwide. In Iran, thanks to long-time efforts by the national health system (including environmental sanitation and public education campaigns), the frequency of the most intestinal parasitic infections has significantly declined in the recent decades. Our study aimed to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in a high-risk occupational group, namely the municipal workers in the city of Esfahan.Materials and Methods: A survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among municipal workers in several districts of Esfahan. Specimens were placed into fecal pots, labeled and kept cool before being transported to the Health Research Center Laboratory, affiliated to the School of Public Health & Institute for Public Health Research in Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The technique used for identifying infections was stool concentration by formalin & ether. All the slides were carefully studied using light microscopy with ×10, × 40, and ×100 magnification.Results: The study results revealed that 24.6% of the workers harbored at least one parasitic species. The highest prevalence (36%) belonged to Giardia lamblia. Ascaris lumbricoides was the most common helminthic parasite (12.4%), followed by Hymenolepis nana (1.2%). The most common non-pathogenic protozoal species was Entamoeba coli (21.7%).Conclusion: Infection with soil parasites is dependent on environmental conditions that allow parasites to complete their life cycle. Socioeconomic and cultural factors are important for the appearance and spread of intestinal parasites in communities where sanitary conditions and infrastructure are inadequate. However, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) used to be prevalent throughout the country, especially in urban and rural population of the Esfahan Province. We investigated the prevalence of intestinal parasites by fecal examination of workers in Esfahan municipality, a group with a low-sanitation working environment close contact with soil contaminants. The lack of information on prevalence in the general population makes it difficult to arrive at any definite conclusions, but on the basis of unpublished data we can conclude that prevalence is somewhat higher in this occupational group compared to the population at large.

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