Intestinal parasites in segregated minority communities of Slovakia: results from a cross-sectional survey in children
Thirty years ago, the Slovak Roma population was examined by members of our institute for intestinal parasites. In a recent study, designed by one of the original authors and a former fellow of our institute - Dr. Giboda, colleagues from Slovakia and Switzerland performed a similar study and found unexpectedly high prevalence of some parasites generally rare in Central Europe.
In Slovakia, the Roma population forms the second-largest ethnic minority. A large part of the Roma is semi-nomadic or lives in segregated settlements with poor living standards and limited access to health facilities. More than 40 years ago, a cross-sectional survey revealed a high prevalence of parasitic infections. There is a paucity of recent data, and hence, we designed a study to investigate the current status of intestinal parasitic infections in this population. Overall, 259 children aged 7 months to 18 years from 32 different segregated settlements provided faecal samples for microscopic examination using a sodium acetate-acetic acid-formalin concentration and the Paraprep L technique. Almost 40% of the samples yielded a positive result, with Ascaris lumbricoides (27.4%) and Giardia intestinalis (9.3%) being the most frequent helminth and intestinal protozoa species, respectively. Many children younger than 2 years were found to be infected, which suggests that community transmission is important. In view of our findings, there is a pressing need for targeted action to improve the health status of this neglected population.
Cross-sectional survey; Diagnosis; Intestinal parasites; Paraprep L; Roma; Sodium acetate-acetic acid-formalin (SAF) concentration technique; Slovakia
Papajová I., Bystrianska J., Giboda M., Becker S.L., Utzinger J., Marti H. 2020: Intestinal parasites in segregated minority communities of Slovakia: results from a cross-sectional survey in children. Acta Tropica 214: 105783. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2020.105783.