In order to investigate the epidemiological situation of intestinal parasite infections in Laos, parasitological surveys were carried out on a national scale including 17 provinces and the Vientiane Municipality. A total of 29,846 stool specimens were collected from primary schoolchildren from May 2000 to June 2002 and examined once with the cellophane thick smear technique. The cumulative egg positive rate for intes-tinal helminths was 61.9%. By species, the rate for Ascaris lumbricoides was 34.9%, hookworm 19.1%, Trichuris trichiura 25.8%, Opisthorchis viverrini 10.9%, Taenia spp. 0.6% and Hymenolepis spp. 0.2%. The northern mountainous regions such as Phongsaly, Huaphan or Saysomboune Province showed a higher prevalence (over 70%) of soil- transmitted helminths. The regions along the Mekong River such as Khammuane, Saravane or Savannakhet Province showed a higher prevalence (over 20%) of fish-borne parasites. On the other hand, Schistosoma mansoni eggs were detected in 1.7% of schoolchildren only in Champassak Province, a previously endemic area. The highest prevalence was noted in Phongsaly Province (96.0%) and the lowest in Bolikhamxay Province (27.5%). An additional small-scale survey by cellophane anal swab detected Enterobius vermicularis eggs in 35.7% of 451 schoolchildren aged 6-8 years in Khammuane, Vientiane, Champassak Province and the Vientiane Municipality. Meanwhile, the mean blood haemoglobin level of hookworm-infected children was not lower than that of children not infected with hookworm, suggesting that nutritional factors are more important than parasite infection per se. Nevertheless, the above results indicate that a nationwide parasite control project is necessary to reduce possible morbidity due to parasitic diseases in the country.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
In view of the above situation, the implementation of a 5-year Laos-Korea project on the control of intestinal parasitic diseases for primary schoolchildren in Laos was commenced in 2000. The project has been supported by the non-governmental organization program of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, the Korea Association of Health, the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Laos. The proposed objectives of the project are the elimination of helminth infections, the strengthening of health care delivery, and the enabling of all health service posts to perform stool examinations for identification and appropriate treatment of parasite infections.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science
- Infectious Diseases