Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites in a Low-Income Texas Community


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Strongyloidiasis affects an estimated hundreds of millions of people worldwide, with infection possibly persisting for life without appropriate therapy because of the helminth’s unique autoinfection cycle. Like other soil-transmitted helminths, because of the environmental conditions required for the life cycle of Strongyloides stercoralis, this parasite is endemic to tropical, subtropical, and temperate countries and areas with inadequate sanitation infrastructure. Given continued poverty and that nearly one in five American homes are lacking proper sanitation systems, many U.S. regions are at risk for intestinal parasites. A central Texas community was chosen as the study site, given previous reports of widespread sanitation failure, degree of poverty, and community willingness to participate. A total of 92 households were surveyed and residents tested for nine intestinal parasites using a multi-parallel quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and ELISA serology. From 43 stool samples, 27 (62.8%) tested positive for Blastocystis spp. and one (2.3%) for Giardia lamblia. From 97 serum samples, Strongyloides serology detected 16 (16.5%) positive individuals. These high rates of heterokont and helminthic laboratory findings in a peri-urban central Texas community suggest several key policy implications, including that strongyloidiasis should be added to the Texas notifiable conditions list, that clinical suspicion for this infection should be heightened in the region, and that residents without access to functioning and sustainable sanitation infrastructure should be provided that access as a basic human right and to promote public health.

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