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Intestinal parasitic infections and risk analysis among urban refugees in the Klang Valley, Malaysia


Background: Global studies show intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) have been introduced and spread with refugee inflows from low to high socio-economic countries. However, there is relatively limited information on the prevalence of infections among the community.

Methods: A 2-year cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors for infections among urban refugees in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. A total of 418 faecal samples were collected and examined by microscopy.

Results: Faecal screening revealed moderate levels (32.3%) of infections in the community. Three nematode (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm) and three protozoan species (Entamoeba, Giardia and Cryptosporidium) were recorded, with the highest prevalence being A. lumbricoides (20.6%) followed by T. trichiura (10.3%), while other infections were <5%. Statistical analysis found that young males with less education were more likely to be infected with helminths. Additionally, living near waste disposal sites, the presence of stray animals, eating with bare hands, bare footedness, poor handwashing practices and no anthelmintic treatment constituted significant risk factors for helminth infections. Protozoan infections were linked to drinking tap water or from water dispensers and poor handwashing practices.

Conclusions: These findings emphasize the importance of health education in addition to introduction of biannual anthelmintic treatment to promote community health and well-being.

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Journal Article
Mohd Hanapi IR
Behnke JM
Sahimin N
Saifulazmi NF
Golam Mohammad Khan ASJ
Abdul Mutalib RNS
Lau YL
Mohd Zain SN