An overview of the prevalence and distribution of gastrointestinal parasitic infections in post-war Iraq
Many modern-day diagnostic tests for parasitic diseases rely on conventional labour-intensive technologies such as serology and microscopy. Although major advances have been recorded in the diagnosis of infectious diseases in humans, parasitic diseases continue to present challenges, particularly in resource-poor countries, and this is mainly attributable to war and famine. Factors such as poverty, deteriorated health facilities and destruction of infrastructure are the consequence of the lack of suitable sanitary practices and proper hygiene, especially in refugee camps, that adversely promote infectious diseases to migrants, particularly among vulnerable children. Generally, the gastrointestinal tract is the predilection site for most helminths and protozoa. They are therefore regarded as a serious public-health problem, as they cause malabsorption, malnutrition and blood loss, leading to anaemia or even death. In addition to their health effects, parasitic infections cause physical and mental impairment in children, retard their educational achievements and hinder economic development.
Keywords: Prevalence, Parasitic diseases, Intestinal parasite, Food-borne, Water-borne, Pathogens, Post-war, Iraq