Drinking water is a significant predictor of Blastocystis infection among rural Malaysian primary schoolchildren

Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.56). 03/2012; 139(8):1014-20. DOI: 10.1017/S0031182012000340
Source: PubMed


Blastocystis infection has a worldwide distribution especially among the disadvantaged population and immunocompromised subjects. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence and the association of Blastocystis infection with the socio-economic characteristics among 300 primary schoolchildren, living in rural communities in Lipis and Raub districts of Pahang state, Malaysia. Stool samples were collected and examined for the presence of Blastocystis using direct smear microscopy after in vitro cultivation in Jones' medium. The overall prevalence of Blastocystis infection was found to be as high as 25·7%. The prevalence was significantly higher among children with gastrointestinal symptoms as compared to asymptomatic children (x2
=4·246; P=0·039). Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that absence of a piped water supply (OR=3·13; 95% CI=1·78, 5·46; P<0·001) and low levels of mothers’ education (OR=3·41; 95% CI=1·62, 7·18; P<0·01) were the significant predictors of Blastocystis infection. In conclusion, Blastocystis is prevalent among rural children and the important factors that determine the infection were the sources of drinking water and mothers' educational level. Interventions with provision of clean water supply and health education especially to mothers are required.

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    • "Blastocystis infections have a worldwide distribution with prevalence of 30% to 60% in developing countries and 1.5% to 20% in developed countries [2,3]. These differences are due to poor hygiene practices and consumption of contaminated food or water [2,4,5]. The organism is mainly transmitted through the faecal-oral route [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Blastocystis is a genetically diverse and a common intestinal parasite of humans with a controversial pathogenic potential. This study was carried out to identify the Blastocystis subtypes and their association with demographic and socioeconomic factors among outpatients living in Sebha city, Libya. Blastocystis in stool samples were cultured followed by isolation, PCR amplification of a partial SSU rDNA gene, cloning, and sequencing. The DNA sequences of isolated clones showed 98.3% to 100% identity with the reference Blastocystis isolates from the Genbank. Multiple sequence alignment showed polymorphism from one to seven base substitution and/or insertion/deletion in several groups of non-identical nucleotides clones. Phylogenetic analysis revealed three assemblage subtypes (ST) with ST1 as the most prevalent (51.1%) followed by ST2 (24.4%), ST3 (17.8%) and mixed infections of two concurrent subtypes (6.7%). ST1 infection was significantly associated with female (P = 0.009) and low educational level (P = 0.034). ST2 was also significantly associated with low educational level (P= 0.008) and ST3 with diarrhoea (P = 0.008). Phylogenetic analysis of Libyan Blastocystis isolates identified three different subtypes; with ST1 being the predominant subtype and its infection was significantly associated with female gender and low educational level. More extensive studies are needed in order to relate each Blastocystis subtype with clinical symptoms and potential transmission sources in this community.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "(i.e. vacuolar, granular, amoeboid, and cystic forms), as in our previous published report [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Blastocystis sp. has a worldwide distribution and is often the most common human intestinal protozoan reported in children and adults in developing countries. The clinical relevance of Blastocystis sp. remains controversial. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of Blastocystis infection and its association with gastrointestinal symptoms among outpatients in Sebha city, Libya. Methods A total of 380 stool samples were collected from outpatients attending the Central Laboratory in Sebha, Libya for routine stool examination. The presence of Blastocystis sp. was screened comparing light microscopy of direct smears against in vitro cultivation. Demographic and socioeconomic information were collected with a standardized questionnaire. Results The overall prevalence of Blastocystis infection was 22.1%. The prevalence was significantly higher among patients aged ≥18 years compared to those aged < 18 years (29.4% vs 9.9%; x2 = 19.746; P < 0.001), and in males compared to females (26.4% vs 17.5%; x2 = 4.374; P = 0.036). Univariate analysis showed significant associations between Blastocystis infection and the occupational status (P = 0.017), family size (P = 0.023) and educational level (P = 0.042) of the participants. Multiple logistic regression analysis confirmed that the age of ≥ 18 years (OR = 5.7; 95% CI = 2.21; 9.86) and occupational status (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.02, 4.70) as significant predictors of Blastocystis infection among this population. In those who had only Blastocystis infection but no other gastrointestinal parasitic infections, the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms was higher compared to those without Blastocystis infection (35.3% vs 13.2%; x2 = 25.8; P < 0.001). The most common symptoms among these patients were abdominal pain (76.4%), flatulence (41.1%) and diarrhoea (21.5%). Conclusions Blastocystis sp. is prevalent and associated with gastrointestinal symptoms among communities in Sebha city, Libya. Age and occupational status were the significant predictors of infection. However, more studies from different areas in Libya are needed in order to delineate the epidemiology and clinical significance of this infection.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Parasites & Vectors
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    • "In Malaysia, Blastocystis infection has been reported to have a high prevalence among urban and rural communities and also in the water of rivers from recreational areas [19-21]. However, knowledge of the epidemiology and risk factors of Blastocystis infection is also rather limited. "
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    ABSTRACT: Blastocystis has been described as the most common intestinal parasite in humans and has an increased impact on public health. However, the transmission of this parasite has not been conclusively determined. To contribute to a better comprehension of the epidemiology of this infection, a cross-sectional survey aimed at providing the first documented data on the prevalence and risk factors associated with Blastocystis infection was carried out among three Orang Asli tribes (Proto-Malay, Negrito and Senoi) in selected villages at Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia. Faecal samples were examined by formalin-ether sedimentation and trichrome staining techniques. Of 500 individuals, 20.4% (102) were detected positive for Blastocystis; 13.3% (20/150) of Proto-Malays, 21.6% (30/139) of Negritos and 24.7% (52/211) of Senois were positive for Blastocystis, respectively. The positive cases showed a decrease with increasing age and most of the positive cases were observed in individuals less than 15 years old. Multivariate analysis confirmed that drinking untreated water and the presence of other family members infected with Blastocystis were significant risk factors of infection among the three tribes and overall population studied. Essentially, the findings highlighted that Blastocystis infection is prevalent among Orang Asli communities in Malaysia. Further studies using molecular approaches to distinguish the subtype of Blastocystis is needed. The present study also revealed that this infection may be transmitted through waterborne and human-to-human contact. Therefore, interventions with the provision of clean water supply for the communities and health education especially to the parents are urgently required.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Parasites & Vectors
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