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 ~  Abstract
 ~  Materials and Me...
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 398-400

Helminthic infestation in children of Kupwara district: A prospective study

1 PG Department of Zoology, The University of Kashmir, Soura, Srinagar, India
2 Department of Gastroenterology, SKIMS, Soura, Srinagar, India

Date of Submission23-Nov-2006
Date of Acceptance10-Jun-2007

Correspondence Address:
S A Wani
PG Department of Zoology, The University of Kashmir, Soura, Srinagar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.37348

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 ~ Abstract 

The present study deals with the investigation of the frequency of intestinal helminth parasites in children of Kupwara, Kashmir, India. Three hundred and twelve children in the age group of 4-15 years were examined for different intestinal helminths in three schools located in rural areas. Two hundred and twenty two of 312 (71.15%) tested positive for various intestinal helminths. The various helminth parasites included Ascaris lumbricoides , Trichuris trichiura , Enterobius vermicularis and Taenia saginata . By far, the highest frequency of 69.23% (216/312) was noted for Ascaris lumbricoides followed by Trichuris trichiura 30.76% (96/312), Enterobius vermicularis 7.69% (24/312) and Taenia saginata 7.69% (24/312). Single infection was found in 33.65% (105/312) and mixed infection was seen in 37.5% (117/312) children. This study emphasizes the need for improved environmental conditions, i.e., clean water supplies, enhanced sanitation and chemotherapy of school-age children in rural areas.

Keywords: Helminths, school children

How to cite this article:
Wani S A, Ahmad F, Zargar S A, Fomda B A, Ahmad Z, Ahmad P. Helminthic infestation in children of Kupwara district: A prospective study. Indian J Med Microbiol 2007;25:398-400

How to cite this URL:
Wani S A, Ahmad F, Zargar S A, Fomda B A, Ahmad Z, Ahmad P. Helminthic infestation in children of Kupwara district: A prospective study. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2007 [cited 2020 Mar 31];25:398-400. Available from:

Intestinal parasites remain major causes of morbidity, especially in children in developing countries. Among the effects associated with these parasites are growth retardation, intestinal obstruction, hepatic and biliary diseases, impaired cognitive development and nutritional effects such as iron deficiency or anaemia. [1] Helminthiasis, which is transmitted faeco-orally via poor sanitation and hygienic practices, has been shown to contribute to anaemia, stunted growth, underweight and poor school performance. [2],[3] The survey on the prevalence of various intestinal helminth parasites in any region is a prerequisite to develop appropriate control strategies. The prevalence of intestinal helminths in Kupwara district has not been reported till now; therefore, the status of intestinal helminths and their contribution to morbidity has not been quantified. Kupwara is a backward frontier district of Kashmir valley. The geographical area of the district is 2379 km 2 . In the east and south lie Baramulla district and in the west and north there is line of control (LOC), which separates it from Muzafferabad (Pakistan). The altitude is 5300 ft above the sea level and the climate remains pleasant in spring, moderate in summer and cold in winter. [4] Administratively, Kupwara is divided into three tehsils, viz., Kupwara, Handwara and Karnah.

This report represents a pilot study undertaken to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites among children in Kupwara district.

 ~ Materials and Methods Top

Kupwara district is located in the northern side of Kashmir valley and is about 80 km away from Srinagar. The occupation of people is mostly agriculture. This study was conducted in three middle schools located in rural areas of this district. Stool samples were collected from 312 children, which included 180 (57.6%) males and 132 (42.3%) females in the age group of 4-15 years. The importance of the study was explained to all children in the study population and the methods of collecting stool specimens were thoroughly made clear to all the children. They were provided with labeled, clean stool containers containing 10 mL of 10% formalin with a proper lid. Every child was instructed to bring his/her own stool sample so that no mixing would occur. After collection, the specimens were immediately transported to parasitology laboratory of PG Department of Zoology at the University of Kashmir, for further processing. The specimens were processed by using direct smear and zinc sulphate floatation concentration techniques. All the parasitic eggs or worms recovered were recorded and descriptively analysed. A difference in the prevalence between the genders was compared by using χ[2] test.

 ~ Results Top

Three hundred and twelve children between age of 4-15 years, both male ( n = 180) and female ( n = 132), were included in this study. The overall prevalence of helminth parasitic infection was 71.15% (222/312).

At least one intestinal helminth was detected in 33.65% (105/312) children and multiple helminth infestation was recorded in 37.5% (117/312). The most common parasitic helminth was Ascaris lumbricoides 69.23% (216/312) followed by Trichuris trichiura 30.76% (96/312). Ascaris lumbricoides was found as single type infection as well as in association with other helminths in mixed type infection. Mixed type infection includes Ascaris lumbricoides + Trichuris trichiura 31.8% (69/222), Ascaris lumbricoides + Enterobius vermicularis 8.1% (18/222), Ascaris lumbricoides + Taenia saginata 4.05% (9/222), Ascaris lumbricoides + Trichuris trichiura + Enterobius vermicularis 2.7% (6/222) and Ascaris lumbricoides + Trichuris trichiura + Taenia saginata 6.7% (15/222) [Table - 1]. Age and gender wise prevalence of various types of helminths in the children are shown in [Table - 2],[Table - 3]. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides and Taenia saginata between male and female children ( P > 0.05), but the prevalence of Trichuris trichiura and Enterobius vermicularis was significantly different in the two sexes ( P < 0.05). In this study, it was seen that male children are more infected (76.6%) than female children (63.6%) ( P < 0.05). Results showed that children in the age group of 8-11 years were more infected (26.92%) followed by the 4-7-year age group (24.03%) and 12-15-year age group (20.19%).

 ~ Discussion Top

In the present study, the frequency of intestinal helminth parasites was investigated. The results indicated a high prevalence of 77.15% (222/312). Similar studies conducted in different developing countries have shown a high prevalence of intestinal helminthiasis. Studies conducted by Bundy et al. in Malaysia, [5] De-silva et al. , in Kandy area of Srilanka, [6] Rodriguez et al. , in Maracaibo municipality of Venezuela [7] and Legesse and Erko in Lake Langano, Ethiopia, [8] also showed similar results.

It was found in the study that 33.65% (105/312) were infected by at least one helminth parasite and 37.5% (117/312) were infected by multiple helminth parasites. Lindo et al. , in young children in the interior of Guyana [9] and Legesse and Erko in the lake Langano, Ethiopia, [8] have shown similar results in their studies.

The results of this study indicate that A. lumbricoides was the commonest helminth parasite in both male (75%) and female (61%) children, followed by Trichuris trichiura 26.6% in male and 36.36% in female children. This may be due to the presence of the source of the infection in the area studied and frequent faeco-oral spread of infection among children. In addition, contamination of soil by human faeces (especially for Ascaris and Trichuris ) in combination with a high degree of overcrowding and a low-income level increases the susceptibility to helminthiasis. Similar results were shown by Al-Nakkas et al. in Kuwait [10] and Lindo et al . in young children of interior Guyana. [9]

Our findings show that E. vermicularis was almost prevalent only in male children due to more unhygienic habits, but Taenia saginata was found in both the sexes with least significant difference in the prevalence ( P < 0.05); this may be due to the habit of beef-eating in both sexes. These results are in accordance with the results of study carried out by Martin et al. in the children of northern Bangladesh. [11] Our results are contrary to the results of the studies carried out by Bundy et al. in urban slum of Malaysia. [5] Such results can be due to differences in the habits of children in the two study sites. Data analysis regarding the prevalence of parasite in relation to sex is indicative of some sex-linked difference in the pattern of prevalence. Data analysis reveals a higher percentage in males (76.6%) than females (63.6%), which is statistically significant ( P < 0.05). This is due to the fact that males are more exposed to unhygienic conditions in fields during playing, working, etc. and females usually remain indoor due to religious restrictions. Similar results have been reported by Singh et al. in rural community of Varanasi [12] and Ibrahim among school children in Gaza strip, Palestine. [13]

This study shows that intestinal helminths are prevalent in high magnitude among school children of the study area. This calls for the institution of control measures, including treatment of all school-age children, improvement of sanitation and provision of clean water. The impact of each measure would be maximized through a health education programme directed at school children in particular and at community, in general.

 ~ Acknowledgement Top

We would like to thank all the children, their parents, teachers and the school authorities for their cooperation.

 ~ References Top

1.Simeon DT, Grantham-McGregor SM, Callender JE, Wong MS. Treatment of Trichuris trichiura infection improves growth, spelling sores and school attendance in some children. J Nutr 1995; 125 :1875-83.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.WHO. Measuring change in nutritional status: Guide lines for assessing the nutritional impact of supplementary feeding programmes for vulnerable groups. WHO: Geneva; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Stephenson LS, Latham MC, Ottesen EA. Malnutrition and parasitic helminth infections. Parasitology 2000; 121 :S23-38.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Gupta OP. Jammu and Kashmir General Knowledge . Ramesh Publishing House: New Delhi; 2006. p. 37.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Bundy DA, Kan SP, Rose R. Age related prevalence, intensity and frequency distribution of gastrointestinal helminth infection in urban slum children from Kaula lumper, Malaysia. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 1988;82:289-94.  Back to cited text no. 5 NR, D-Silva HJ, Jayapani VP. Intestinal parasitosis in the Kandy areas, Sri Lanka. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 1994; 25 :469-73.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Rivero-Rodrνguez Z, Chourio-Lozano G, Diaz I, Cheng R, Rucsón G. Intestinal parasites in school children at a public institution in Maracaibo municipality, Venezuela. Invest Clin 2000; 41 :37-57.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Legesse M, Erko B. Prevalence of intestinal parasites among school children in rural areas close to the southeast of Lake Langano. Ethopia J Health Dev 2004; 18 :116-20.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Lindo JF, Validum L, Ager AL, Campa A, Cuadrado RR, Cunning R, et al. Intestinal parasites among young children in the interior of Guyana. West Indian Med J 2002; 51 :25-7.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Al-Nakkas EM, Al-Mutar MS, Sheweiki HS, Prem N, Shouky Rihan. Parasitic infection in Kuwait: A study based on primary care centres. Middle East J Fam Med 2004; 3 :118-24.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Martin J, Keymer A, Isherwood RJ, Wainwright SM. The prevalence and intensity of Ascaris lumbricoides infection in Moslem children from North Bangladesh. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 1983; 77 :702-6.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Singh DS, Hotchandani RK, Kumar S, Seecatt JS, Srivastava PK, Udupa KN. Prevalence and pattern of intestinal parasitism: A rural community of Varanasi. Indian J Prev Soc Med 1984; 15 :1-8.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Ibrahim AH. Prevalence of intestinal parasites among school children in Dier -EL-Balah town in Gaza. Strip, Palestine. Ann Saudi Med 2002: 22 :273-5.  Back to cited text no. 13    


  [Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3]

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