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Seroprevalence of five parasitic pathogens in pregnant women in ten Caribbean countries

Guo, Fengguang, Forde, Martin S., Werre, Stephen R., Krecek, Rosina C., Zhu, Guan
Parasitology research 2017 v.116 no.1 pp. 347-358
Ascaris lumbricoides, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Schistosoma mansoni, Toxocara canis, antibodies, blood serum, education, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, epidemiological studies, gross domestic product, immunoglobulin G, islands, monitoring, outreach, parasites, parasitoses, pathogens, pregnant women, public health, seroprevalence, Caribbean
To date, published epidemiological studies of parasitic infections in humans in the Caribbean region are very limited. Here, we report the seroprevalence of five parasitic pathogens, including Ascaris lumbricoides, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Schistosoma mansoni, and Toxocara canis in 435 serum samples collected between 2008 and 2011 from pregnant women in ten Caribbean islands. We tested the serum samples for IgG antibodies against the five parasites by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Among them, 66.2 % were serologically positive for at least one parasite. The most prevalent parasite was G. lamblia (40.5 %), followed by A. lumbricoides (37.9 %), T. canis (14.5 %), E. histolytica (6.7 %), and S. mansoni (3.0 %). Evidence of infections of G. lamblia and A. lumbricoides were detected in all ten Caribbean countries. Seroprevalence estimates significantly differed between countries for A. lumbricoides, E. histolytica, and T. canis (p values <0.001). For S. mansoni, significance was observed by Fisher’s exact test (p = 0.013) but not by multiple comparisons. The prevalence of G. lamblia was not significantly different between countries (p = 0.089). A significant negative correlation between the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and overall seroprevalence by country was also observed (Pearson’s r = −0.9202, p = 0.0002). The data strongly indicates that neglected parasitic infections remain a significant health burden on people in these countries. Thus, justification has been provided to regional health planners to enhance existing public health surveillance programs on parasitic diseases and to heighten the public’s awareness through education and outreach programs on how they can minimize the occurrence of parasitic infections.