Intestinal parasitic infections have a worldwide distribution and have been identified as one of the most significant causes of illnesses and diseases among disadvantaged populations. A study finds that intestinal parasitic infections are highly prevalent (nearly 75 percent) among the poor rural communities in west Malaysia.

Soil-transmitted helminth infections (73.2 percent) were significantly more common compared to protozoa infections (21.4 percent). Those aged 12 years and younger showed significantly higher rates of intestinal parasitic infections.

Poverty and low socioeconomic with poor environmental sanitation were indicated as important predictors of these types of infections.

“Effective poverty reduction programs, promotion of deworming, and mass campaigns to heighten awareness on health and hygiene are urgently needed to reduce [intestinal parasitic infections],” the study concluded.

1. Ngui R, Ishak S, Chuen CS, et al. Prevalence and risk factors of intestinal parasitism in rural and remote west Malaysia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2011; 5(3): e974. (open access)