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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-14

Prevalence and risk factors of intestinal helminth infection among rural Malay children


1 Biomedicine Program, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia
2 Department of Community Health Sciences, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA
3 Department of Nutrition, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Lim Boon Huat
Biomedicine Program, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-777X.93753

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Background: Soil-transmitted intestinal helminth infection is prevalent in rural communities of Malaysia. Risk factors contributing to helminth infections are largely unknown in the country. Aim: To determine the prevalence and risk factors of intestinal helminth infections among children in Beris Lalang, a rural Muslim community of Malaysia. Settings and Design : In this cross-sectional study, children aged 7-9 years were recruited during the mass Friday prayer at Beris Lalang mosque by trained imams (religious leaders). A standardized questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographic profile, daily hygienic practices, and history of helminth infection. Results: Out of 79 samples, 29 (37%) were positive for helminthic ova, of which 24 were ova of Trichuris trichiura. Poor education of the mother (primary education or less) (P=0.015), eating raw salad (P=0.03), and no physical activities (P=0.03) were found independent risk factors for the child's helminth infections in univariate analysis. A higher proportion of children with helminth infections complained of tiredness and fatigue compared to those without such infections (36% vs. 12%, P=0.019). In a multivariate analysis of predictors of helminth infection, poor education of the mother (P=0.02) and eating raw salad (P=0.04) remained statistically significant, after controlling for several other potential risk factors. Conclusions : T. trichiura was the most prevalent intestinal helminth infection in children in rural Malaysia. Risk factors of helminth infection included mother's poor education and eating raw salad and vegetables.


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2008 Journal of Global Infectious Diseases | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 10th December, 2008