High prevalence of enteroparasites in children from Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

ABSTRACT Objective: To determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites and possible associated factors. Method: Cross-sectional epidemiological study of 962 children (3-12-years) from an area within the scope of a basic health unit in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. Data were collected by home interviews and three-sample stool analysis and evaluated with the chi-square and Fisher's exact tests (p<0.05). Results: The prevalence of intestinal parasites was significantly high (57.5%). Giardia lamblia was the most prevalent (50.8%), followed by Ascaris lumbricoides (17.8%), Entamoeba histolytica, Hymenolepis nana, Entamoeba coli and Enterobius vermiculares (5.6-7.3%) and other parasites of lower prevalence, such as Schistosoma japonicum (1%) and Schistosoma mansoni (0.5%). No statistically significant associations were detected between prevalence and the risk factors analyzed. Conclusion: Since the area presents good conditions of environmental sanitation, health education programs should be implemented that emphasize hygiene procedures for the hands and for food and water to be consumed by the population.