Deworming Campaign in Eastern Afghanistan – Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites and Adoption of Treatment Strategy
Purpose: To estimate the prevalence and species of intestinal parasites in an Afghan community as well as to establish appropriate treatment method for each of the detected pathogens.
Methods: Parasitological examination of stool samples collected from 777 children aged 1-17 years, treated in Ghazni Provincial Hospital (eastern Afghanistan) conducted in the period 2012 - 2013 made it possible to implement dedicated antiparasitic treatment.
Results: Of 312 children (40.2 % of the examined group; p < 0.05) infected with nematodes (n = 154, 19.7 %), cestodes (n = 90, 11.6 %), trematodes (n = 16, 2.1 %), and protozoa (n = 135, 17.4 %), 67 were diagnosed with co-infections (mainly ascariasis + giardiasis, ascariasis + hymenolepiasis, giardiasis + hymenolepiasis, ascariasis + giardiasis + hymenolepiasis) and received complex therapy (albendazole + metronidazole, albendazole + praziquantel, metronidazole + praziquantel, and albendazole + metronidazole + praziquantel).
Conclusion: Owing to high prevalence of multiple co-infections among inhabitants of the Afghan community, it seems that a mass deworming campaign with a single-dose chemotherapy (albendazole 400 mg or mebendazole 500 mg) may prove ineffective in eradicating intestinal parasites in the local population.
Keywords: Afghanistan, Intestinal parasites, Hymenolepiasis, Ascariasis, Giardiasis, Metronidazole, Albendazole, Praziquantel, Mebendazole, Deworming
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