, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 98-101
Date: 21 Oct 2008

Effect of Tourism and Trade on Intestinal Parasitic Infections in Guatemala

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A survey was performed to determine if infection with gastrointestinal parasites differs between the rural and urban poor inhabitants of Guatemala. A total of 317 stool samples from children in two towns, one rural and one urban, were examined using the formalin–ether concentration method. The overall prevalence of parasites in infected children was 67%, 20%, 30%, and 22%, respectively for Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Giardia duodenalis and Entamoeba histolytica in the rural town of La Mano de Leon and 49%, 14%, 15%, and 21%, respectively in the urban town of Santa Maria de Jesus. Two sub-studies were carried out to determine the effects of (1) gender and (2) age on the rate of parasitic infections. Female children in the 1-to 6-year-olds age group in Santa Maria de Jesus had more infections with A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura when compared to La Mano de Leon. A. lumbricoides was most prevalent in Santa Maria de Jesus. These results propose that accessibility to tourism and trade decreases the risk for the establishment of parasitic diseases in children of Guatemala possibly due to improvements in basic nutrition and availability of health care.