Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

A cross-sectional study of intestinal parasitoses in dogs and children of the periurban area of La Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina): zoonotic importance and implications in public health.

Abstract

A cross-sectional study was performed between school term dates 2014 and 2015 to diagnose intestinal parasites in dogs and children living with them. The socio-environmental characteristics and hygiene practices of the children were also evaluated in terms of risk factors for parasitic infection of periurban neighbourhoods of La Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Serial coproparasitological samples of 78 dogs and 211 children were analysed by means of concentration and flotation techniques. Socio-environmental variables and hygiene practices of children were evaluated through semi-structured questionnaires which were answered by every family. The study showed that 82.1% of dogs were parasitized. The specific richness was of 11 species; Ancylostoma caninum (69.2%), Uncinaria stenocephala (41.0%), Trichuris vulpis (28.2%) and Toxocara canis (21.8%) were the most prevalent. The study also revealed that 67.8% of children were positive. Also, 11 species were identified and the most prevalent were Blastocystis sp. (36.0%), Enterobius vermicularis (27.5%) and Giardia lamblia (21.3%). The risk for parasitosis was higher in 6-year-old children and older (OR=1.9, 95% IC: 1.0-3.7) and in those who did not wash their hands or did it occasionally after playing with their pets (OR=2.8, 95% IC: 1.4-5.5). Blastocystis sp. and Entamoeba coli infection risks were greater in children whose parents had a basic level of education (OR=3.4, 95% IC: 1.3-8.7 and OR=3.6, 95% IC: 0.8-15.9, respectively). In addition, the risk of infection for E. coli was higher in children who lived in floodable houses (OR=4.4, 95% IC: 0.9-16.6). Likewise, the risk of infection for E. vermicularis was greater in children with onychophagia (OR=1.6, 95% IC: 0.7-3.7) and in 6 year olds and older whose parents completed only primary studies (OR=3.6, 95% IC: 1.4-9.1). The results obtained show the existence of a worrying epidemiological scenario that stresses the importance of zoonotic parasitosis as a serious problem of public health.