Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections, Nutrition and Growth in School-age Children from Rural Communities in Honduras
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Background: Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are endemic in Honduras but their impact on children’s health is not well studied. Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence and intensity of STH infections and their association with nutrition and growth in a sample of Honduran children. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was done among Honduran rural school-age children in 2011. Blood and stool samples and anthropometric measurements were obtained to determine nutritional status, STH infection and growth status, respectively. Results: The STH prevalence among 320 studied children was 72.5%. Prevalence by species was 30%, 67% and 16% for Ascaris, Trichuris and 16% hookworms, respectively. High intensity infections were associated with decreased growth scores but regardless of intensity, co-infections negatively affected growth indicators. Conclusions: The health burden of STH infections is related to high parasitic load but also to the presence of low-intensity concurrent infections. The synergistic effects of polyparasitism in underprivileged children warrants more attention.