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- The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,
Epidemiology of Soil-Transmitted Helminth and Intestinal Protozoan Infections in Preschool-Aged Children in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia
Intestinal parasites are important contributors to global morbidity and mortality and are the second most common cause of outpatient morbidity in Ethiopia. This cross‐sectional survey describes the prevalence of soil‐transmitted helminths and intestinal protozoa in preschool children 0–5 years of age in seven communities in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, and investigates associations between infection, household water and sanitation characteristics, and child growth. Stool samples were collected from children 0–5 years of age, 1 g of sample was preserved in sodium acetate–acetic acid–formalin, and examined for intestinal helminth eggs and protozoa cysts ether‐concentration method. A total of 212 samples were collected from 255 randomly selected children. The prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworm were 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.6–15.1), 1.4% (95% CI = 0–3.0), and 0% (95% CI = 0–1.7), respectively. The prevalence of the pathogenic intestinal protozoa Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar were 10.4% (95% CI = 6.2–14.6) and 3.3% (95% CI = 0.09–5.7), respectively. Children with A. lumbricoides infections had lower height‐for‐age z‐scores compared with those without, but were not more likely to have stunting. Compared with those without G. lamblia, children with G. lamblia infections had lower weight‐for‐age and weight‐for‐height z‐scores and were more than five times as likely to meet the z‐score definition for wasting (PR = 5.42, 95% CI = 2.97–9.89). This article adds to a growing body of research on child growth and intestinal parasitic infections and has implications for their treatment and prevention in preschool‐aged children.