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Parasites and Vectors

, 5:265

First Online: 20 November 2012Received: 19 October 2012Accepted: 26 October 2012


BackgroundParasitic diseases can represent a social and economic problem among disadvantaged people - even in developed countries. Due to the limited data available concerning Europe, the aims of the present study were to evaluate the presence of parasites in immigrant children and the risk factors favouring the spread of parasites. Subsequently, the possible correlation between nutritional status and parasitic infections was also investigated.

FindingsA convenience sample of two hundred and forty seven immigrant children aged 0–15 attending the Poliambulatorio della Medicina Solidale in Rome was examined. Data were collected using structured questionnaires, and parasitological and anthropometric tests were applied. Chi-squared test and binary logistic multiple-regression models were used for statistical analysis.

Thirty-seven children 15% tested positive to parasites of the following species: Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba coli, Giardia duodenalis, Enterobius vermicularis, Ascaris lumbricoides and Strongyloides stercoralis. A monospecific infection was detected in 30 81% out of 37 parasitized children, while the others 19% presented a polyparasitism. The major risk factors were housing, i.e. living in shacks, and cohabitation with other families p<0.01. Children classified in the lower height Z-scores had a significantly greater prevalence of parasites 30.9% than the others p<0.01.

ConclusionsThis study shows that parasite infection in children is still quite common, even in a developed country and that children’s growth and parasitism may be related. Extensive improvements in the living, social and economic conditions of immigrants are urgently needed in order to overcome these problems.

KeywordsIntestinal parasites Risk factors Nutritional status Immigrant children Developed country Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1756-3305-5-265 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Laura Manganelli - Federica Berrilli - David Di Cave - Lucia Ercoli - Gioia Capelli - Domenico Otranto - Annunziata Giangas


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