Mexico: Intestinal Parasites, 1990

In 1990 CIET carried out a research project in 20 sentinel communities to discover the prevalence of intestinal parasites in children under two years old, what the risk factors are, and the attitudes of the population towards intestinal parasites. Samples of blood, saliva and faeces were taken from all children under two years old. The faeces were analyzed on the spot using a portable plastic microscope, and the results and appropriate treatment given to the families. The same samples were also analyzed using the ELISA test in CIET’s central laboratory with a view to developing a saliva- based diagnostic test for monitoring impact of public health measures to reduce childhood parasites.
Three in every ten children under the age of two was infected with parasites. Of the 3128 households surveyed, three in every ten families disinfect vegetables that are to be eaten raw, and households where vegetables are not disinfected have an 80% greater risk of infection with parasites than a household that does so. Only half of the households boil water for drinking, and a family that does not boil drinking water has a 23% greater risk of infection with parasites than a family that drinks boiled water. Half of the households in the study did not have latrines, increasing by 37% the risk of parasitic infection compared with someone in a household with a latrine.