Malnutrition and the presence of intestinal parasites in children from the poorest municipalities of Mexico

  • Javier Gutierrez-Jimenez Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Maria G C Torres-Sanchez Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Leamsi P Fajardo-Martinez Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Maria A Schlie-Guzman Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Lorena M Luna-Cazares Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Alma R Gonzalez-Esquinca Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Salvador Guerrero-Fuentes Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
  • Jorge E Vidal Division of Infectious Diseases, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta GA, United States
Keywords: Malnutrition, children, intestinal parasites, Ascaris, Chiapas, poverty

Abstract

Background: For many years Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, has had the highest rate of child mortality due to intestinal infections of unknown etiology in the country. To begin identifying the infectious agents, our work determined the prevalence of intestinal parasites as well as malnutrition in children from Chiapas's three most impoverished municipalities: Pantepec, Chanal, and Larrainzar.

Methodology: In this cross-sectional study, conducted between January and November 2009, we assessed the prevalence of intestinal parasites by means of coproparasitological analysis in children <5 years of age (N=250) from three of the marginalized municipalities: Pantepec, Chanal and Larrainzar. The prevalence of malnutrition was then assessed using the Mexican official norm NOM-031-SSA2-1999 and WHO criteria. We evaluated the association between age (breast-fed and pre-school children) with parasites and nutritional status.

Results: Our analysis revealed the highest prevalence of intestinal parasites in children from Pantepec (62.8 %), followed by Chanal (47.3 %), and then Larrainzar (11.9 %). The nematode Ascaris lumbricoides was the most prevalent enteroparasite (33.6%). Anthropometric analysis revealed that >40% of children represented varying degrees of malnutrition and a marked constitutional delay in growth. A very high prevalence of stunting was also recorded in children from Chanal and Larrainzar (70% and 55 %, respectively). An association between infection with intestinal parasites and malnutrition was observed in Pantepec. Preschool-age children were more likely to be infected with intestinal parasites.

Conclusion: Our results indicate the urgent need for interventions in order to 1) improve the nutritional status of children and 2) reduce infection rates of enteric parasites.

Author Biographies

Javier Gutierrez-Jimenez, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Professor in Microbiology,Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH)
Maria G C Torres-Sanchez, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Biologist,Laboratorio de Biologia Molecular y Genetica, Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas
Leamsi P Fajardo-Martinez, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Biologist,Laboratorio de Biologia Molecular y Genetica, Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas
Maria A Schlie-Guzman, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Professor in Cell Biology,Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH)
Lorena M Luna-Cazares, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Professor in Biochemistry,Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH)
Alma R Gonzalez-Esquinca, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Professor in Phisiology,Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH)
Salvador Guerrero-Fuentes, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH), Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Biologist, Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas (UNICACH)
Jorge E Vidal, Division of Infectious Diseases, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta GA, United States
Assistant Research Professor, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
Published
2013-10-15
How to Cite
1.
Gutierrez-Jimenez J, Torres-Sanchez M, Fajardo-Martinez L, Schlie-Guzman M, Luna-Cazares L, Gonzalez-Esquinca A, Guerrero-Fuentes S, Vidal J (2013) Malnutrition and the presence of intestinal parasites in children from the poorest municipalities of Mexico. J Infect Dev Ctries 7:741-747. doi: https://doi.org/10.3855/jidc.2990
Section
Original Articles