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Epidemiol Health > Volume 41; 2019 > Article
Epidemiology and Health 2019;41: e2019009-0.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2019009    Published online March 28, 2019.
Geospatial analysis and epidemiological aspects of human infections with Blastocystis hominis in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran
Shabnam Asfaram1,2  , Ahmad Daryani1,3  , Shahabeddin Sarvi1,3  , Abdol Sattar Pagheh1,2  , Seyed Abdollah Hosseini1,2  , Reza Saberi1,2  , Seyede Mahboobeh Hoseiny4  , Masoud Soosaraei1,2  , Mehdi Sharif1,3 
1Toxoplasmosis Research Center, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran
2Student Research Committee, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran
3Department of Parasitology, School of Medicine, Mazandaran University of Medical Science, Sari, Iran
4Geographic Information System Research Center, Mazandaran University of Medical Science, Sari, Iran
Correspondence  Mehdi Sharif ,Email: msharifmahdi@yahoo.com
Received: February 8, 2019  Accepted after revision: March 28, 2019
Abstract
OBJECTIVES:
Blastocystis hominis is a very common large intestinal protozoan with global prevalence in humans and non-human hosts. No precise statistics exist regarding the geographical distribution of Blastocystis that would enable the identification of high-risk communities. Therefore, the current research aimed to characterize the spatial patterns and demographic factors associated with B. hominis occurrence in northern Iran.
METHODS:
The current study was performed among 4,788 individuals referred to health centers in Mazandaran Province, from whom stool samples were obtained. Socio-demographic data were gathered using a questionnaire. Samples were examined by a direct wet mount, the formalin-ethyl acetate concentration technique, and trichrome staining. Moran local indicators of spatial association and a geographically weighted regression model were utilized to analyze the results.
RESULTS:
Generally, the infection rate of Blastocystis parasites was 5.2%, and was considerably higher in the age group of 10-14 years (10.6%) than in other age groups (p=0.005). Our data showed important associations between the occurrence of B. hominis and age, residence, job, contact with domestic animals, anti-parasitic drug consumption, and elevation above sea level (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS:
The current study characterized for the first time the infection rate and risk of B. hominis in the north of Iran, and produced a prediction map. It is expected that this map will help policymakers to plan and implement preventive measures in high-risk areas and to manage already-infected patients.
Keywords: Blastocystis hominis, Geographical information system, Epidemiology, Iran


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