VOLUME 7 NUMBER 1 (January to June 2014)

Phil. Sci. Lett. 2014 7 (1) 73-80
available online: March 1, 2014

*Corresponding author
Email Address: jah.velasco@gmail.com
Received: October 10, 2013
Revised: January 7, 2014
Accepted: February 7, 2014


ARTICLE

Determination of soil-transmitted helminth infection and its association with hemoglobin levels among Aeta schoolchildren of Katutubo Village in Planas, Porac, Pampanga

Janice V. Ng1*, Vicente Y. Belizario, Jr.2, and Florencia G. Claveria3

¹Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines
    Manila, Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila 1000 Philippines
²National Institutes of Health and College of Public Health, University of the
    Philippines Manila, 623 Pedro Gil St., Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila 1000 Philippines
³Biology Department, College of Science, De La Salle University Manila, 2401 Taft
    Avenue, Manila 1004 Philippines

Documented reports about the health status of Aetas, one of the oldest indigenous groups in the Philippines, are limited. In view of their cultural practices, Aetas are considered at great risk of exposure to soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections. This study investigated STH infection and its possible association with hemoglobin levels among Aeta schoolchildren from Katutubo Village in Planas, Porac, Pampanga. Parasitologic assessment was performed using fecalysis by the Kato-Katz quantitative technique, while blood samples were collected for hemoglobin-level analysis using a portable HemoCue machine. Out of 195 children who submitted their stool samples, 97.4% of them had at least one STH infection, with Trichuris trichiura being the most prevalent (94.4%), followed by Ascaris lumbricoides (84.1%), and hookworm (21.5%). School children with moderate- to heavy-intensity infections were found in 152 (82.6%) out of 184 Kato-Katz processed stool. Co-infection rate with A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura was high at 81%. Of the 213 schoolchildren analyzed for hemoglobin levels, 18.3% were anemic (<11.0g/dl). Hemoglobin level was found to be significantly associated with the children’s age (p<0.01) and intensity of hookworm infection (p=0.013). The present findings suggest the need for sustainable deworming programs including biannual treatment of helminths combined with improvements in water, sanitation, and hygiene. The high STH infection rates found among Aeta schoolchildren put them at greater risk of morbidity. Accessible and high-quality health services must be provided and ensured. Further studies on the hosts’ nutritional status may prove useful in identifying other anemia-producing factors.

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