• Soil-Transmitted Helminths, Poverty, and Malnutrition in Honduran Children Living in Remote Rural Communities

      Sanchez, Ana Lourdes; Gabrie, Jose Antonio; Canales, Maritza; Rueda, Maria Mercedes; Fontecha, Gustavo Adolfo; Mason, Patrick W.; Bearman, Gonzalo; Stevens, Michael P. (Libertas Academica, 2016-02)
      Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are endemic in Honduras, but their prevalence according to the levels of poverty in the population has not been examined. The present cross-sectional study is aimed to determine the role of different levels of poverty in STH prevalence and infection intensity as well as the potential associations of STH infections with malnutrition and anemia. Research participants were children attending a medical brigade serving remote communities in Northern Honduras in June 2014. Demographic data were obtained, and poverty levels were determined using the unsatisfied basic needs method. STH infections were investigated by the Kato-Katz method; hemoglobin concentrations were determined with the HemoCue system; and stunting, thinness, and underweight were determined by anthropometry. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and univariate and multivariable logistic regression models. Among 130 children who participated in this study, a high prevalence (69.2%) of parasitism was found and the poorest children were significantly more infected than those living in less poor communities (79.6% vs. 61.8%; P = 0.030). Prevalence rates of Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides, and hookworms were 69.2%, 12.3%, and 3.85%, respectively. In total, 69% of children had anemia and 30% were stunted. Households’ earthen floor and lack of latrines were associated with infection. Greater efforts should be made to reduce STH prevalence and improve overall childhood health, in particular, among the poorest children lacking the basic necessities of life.