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      Prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among communities living in different habitats and its comparison with one hundred and one studies conducted over the past 42 years (1970 to 2013) in Malaysia.

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          Intestinal parasitic infections are among the most common diseases affecting mankind causing major public health problems to billions of people living in developing countries. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in various communities residing in different habitats in Malaysia and compare the findings with 101 studies conducted over the past 42 years (1970-2013). A cross-sectional study design was conducted with the aid of a questionnaire to collect relevant information about the study population. Faecal samples were examined using the direct smear and formal ether sedimentation techniques. A total of 342 children were examined amongst whom 24.6% were positive for intestinal parasitic infections. Results showed that 32.3% of rural children, 20.6% of urban squatters and 5.4% of children from flats were positive for one or more parasites. The most common parasite encountered was Trichuris trichiura (20.2%) followed by Ascaris lumbricoides (10.5%) and hookworm (6.7%). No case of hookworm was reported in urban children whereas 12.2% of rural children were positive. The most common protozoan parasite detected was Entamoeba coli (3.2%) followed by Giardia intestinalis (1.8%), Entamoeba histolytica (1.8%) and Blastocystis hominis (1.2%). Nearly one-fifth (18.4%) of the children had single infection followed by double (12.0%) and triple infections (1.2%). Orang Asli (indigenous) children (44.3%) had the highest infection rate followed by Indians (20.2%), Malays (14.0%) and Chinese (11.9%). Twenty-eight studies carried out on plantation communities with regards to intestinal parasitic infections in Malaysia from 1970 to 2013 showed a steady decline in the prevalence rate ranging from 95.0% in the seventies to 37.0 % in 2012. Intestinal parasitic infections were more common in Orang Asli communities with prevalence ranging from over 90% in the seventies and fluctuating below 70% in most studies between 2000 to 2013 except for two studies that showed a prevalence of 98.2% and 100%. The prevalence rate among urban squatters, urban residents and those living in flats showed dramatic decrease in prevalence rate.

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          Author and article information

          Trop Biomed
          Tropical biomedicine
          Jun 2014
          : 31
          : 2
          [1 ] Laboratory Based Department, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Royal College of Medicine Perak, No 3 Jalan Greentown, 30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.


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