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Original Research

RMJ. 2019; 44(4): 690-693


Prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in children presenting to a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan

Pushpa Valiram, Shaima Sultana Memon, Sumera Shaikh, Shahnwar Ali Khawaja, Asha Mahesh.

Abstract
Objective: To determine the prevalence and types of intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) in children presenting to a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methodology: This cross-sectional questionnaire based study was carried out in the Pediatrics Department of the Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital, Karachi, from May to November 2017. All consecutive children ≤12 years of age presenting with various gastrointestinal complaints were included. Data collection was carried out by medical students of Dow Medical College, Karachi.
Results: Out of 90 stool samples, 68 (76.0%) showed presence of either cyst or ova of the intestinal parasites. Of these 68 children, 23 were male and 45 were female (M: F ratio: 1:2). Forty five (66.2%) children had Ascaris lumbricoides and 23 (33.8%) had Enterobius vermicularis. 90% of children in the 0-4 year age group had pica, while only 10% in the 5-8 year age group had pica.
Conclusion: There is high prevalence of IPIs in children with gastrointestinal symptoms from Karachi. A local surveillance and disease notification program is required. The health authorities should take immediate steps to control the prevalence of IPIs to reduce its health care burden in our society and save our children from the associated health risks.

Key words: Intestinal parasites, children, pica, personal hygiene, predisposing factors, stool examination.


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