Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Investigation of Factors Affecting Frequency of Intestinal Parasites in Primary School Students in an Urban Region in Turkey

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Investigation of Factors Affecting Frequency of Intestinal Parasites in Primary School Students in an Urban Region in Turkey

Article excerpt


Approximately one quarter of the world population is at risk of getting affected by intestinal parasitic diseases (IPD). It is among the most important health problems encountered particularly in developing countries (1). The prevalence of parasitic infections varies according to the environmental, social and economic factors as well as the age groups (1-3). IPD is known to be more common in children with inadequate hygiene habits compared to the adults. These children are at high risk of iron deficiency anaemia, gastrointestinal disorders and growth retardation, which adversely affect the school success (4).

In our country, there are numerous studies reporting the incidence of childhood IPD varying between 9% and 60% and it is more frequent particularly in regions with a low socioeconomic level and poor hygiene and environmental conditions (5-9).

It is important for prevention and treatment of IPD to know the incidence and species of intestinal parasites in the regions. In addition, identification of the associated factors and the attitude and awareness of families about these diseases will play a major role in developing regional plans of preventive measures and determining therapeutic strategies.

To our knowledge, there are no previous relevant studies in the city of Kutahya located in western Turkey. The aim of the present study was to determine the incidence of intestinal parasites and associated factors in primary school students and to assess the knowledge and practices of mothers about these diseases.


The study was granted ethical approval by The Medical School Ethics Committee of Eskisehir Osmangazi University and adhered to the Declaration of Elelsinki guidelines. Written consent was obtained from the principals of educational institutions included in the study.

Study Design

The population of the Kutahya city centre is 237,602 of which 48,317 are children under the age of 15 years. There are 13,563 pupils attaining education at primary schools (age range 5-10 years) in the city center.

The presumable incidence of intestinal parasites was estimated to be 15% and the study sample was calculated to include 523 pupils to obtain 95% confidence interval with a 3% margin of error. In this cross-sectional study, the city centre was divided into 3 regions of a high, moderate and low socioeconomic level according to the data from the Provincial Public Health Directorate. Three schools from each region were selected randomly: Asim Gündüz Primary School (AGPS), Fevzi Cakmak Primary School (FCPS), and Emine Ariogul Primary School (EAPS). Stratified sampling method was used to select the study participants. Stratification was based on the grade the pupils were attending and then on the gender to balance the male to female ratio. The study units were then selected using systematic sampling from each stratum.

The study was carried out between the dates 25/01/2014 and 12/03/2014. Parents of the students were invited to the school on a pre-determined day and were informed about the study. Although 538 pupils agreed to participate in the study, only 471 (88%) had provided the stool sample for laboratory examination. Thus, only the results of these 471 pupils were included in the statistical analysis.

Data Collection

Study data were collected in two stages. In the first stage, parents were invited to the schools and the pre-prepared questionnaire form and information about the study were handed over. Then, the lidded stool containers and glass slides with cellophane taped on and the information about how to collect a stool sample were given to the participating children. Physical examination of each pupil was completed and, if required, pupils were referred to the hospital for further examination.

The questionnaire form consists of 4 sections. The first part includes the questions about the age, gender and body height and weight of the children, and about disease examination. …

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