Master's Culminating Experience
Intestinal Parasitic Infections (IPIs) pose a significant global health concern. IPIs annually contribute to 3.5 billion infections and 450 million illnesses worldwide. In hyperendemic countries, IPIs pose a significant economic and health burden, especially in rural areas. IPIs have many routes of transmission and cause a wide range of symptoms associated largely with poor health, impeded growth, and worsening of secondary infections. Such diseases are widespread in poor communities living in the Peruvian Amazon. This study aims to describe common chief complaints, diagnoses, treatments, as well as behaviors and practices associated with IPIs presenting in clinic patients. As part of a volunteer health initiative, free medical clinics were held in four communities in the Loreto region of Peru, where 30 patients in each clinic were surveyed for this report. In these four communities, data was compared between moderately poor (MP) and very poor (VP) villages. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and comparisons between the MP and VP groupings. Risk preventability related to IPIs was also explored based on gender, education, literacy, and transmission variables. It was determined that 65% of clinic patients had an IPI (MP: 54%, VP: 76%). Practices and behaviors linked to water, food, sanitation, and zoonotic sources were significantly varied between MP and VP communities. Of the study participants, 67% of MP and 73% of VP were prescribed antiparasitic medication. Socioeconomic status and education were prime indicators of disease susceptibility. In hyperendemic countries like Peru, IPIs need to be further investigated for focused public health intervention strategies.
Stofer, J. M. (2014). Adverse Health Effects of Intestinal Parasitic Infections in Rural Peruvian Clinic Patients. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.