Back to search

Prevalence of helmintic infections in Brazilian Maxakali indigenous: a repeated cross-sectional design


Background: The prevalence of intestinal parasites is known to be high among Amerindian populations; further, there are serious problems in the healthcare of these populations in Brazil. The Maxakali, located in the northeastern region of Minas Gerais, Brazil, is an indigenous group that still preserves many of its cultural aspects. This study aimed to compare the positivity rate of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths in this ethnic group in epidemiological surveys conducted in 1972 and 2014.

Methods: Stool parasitological examinations were performed by the Kato-Katz technique during both periods in this population. In 2014, the parasitological diagnosis was also realized with the TF-Test® technique.

Results: In 1972, 270 inhabitants were examined. The positivity rates were 67.4% for Schistosoma mansoni, 72.9% for hookworms, 43.7% for Ascaris lumbricoides, and 23.7% for Trichuris trichiura. In 2014, 545 individuals were examined, and the positivity rates obtained were 45.7% for S. mansoni, 22.8% for hookworms, 0.6% for A. lumbricoides, and 2.8% for T. trichiura.

Conclusions: The comparison of the parasitological surveys conducted in 1972 and 2014, indicates that the indigenous Maxakali remained neglected by the health and indigenous protection authorities during these four decades. The infection rate observed in 2014 for schistosomiasis and hookworm remains high, considering the current epidemiological view of these diseases in the Brazilian population.

More information

Journal Article
Siqueira LMV
Barbosa KF
Vianna VN
Masioli CZ
da Silva JC
Zicker F
Coelho PMZ
Katz N
Machado-Coelho GLL