Malnutrition and infections by intestinal parasites such as Giardia duodenalis coexist in the same geographical regions, reaching the highest prevalence in developing countries. The cycle of malnutrition and infection implies that both conditions can aggravate each other and compromise the growth and development of children with special relevance for under-five. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between chronic malnutrition and infection by G. duodenalis in children under five in a rural community in Guinea-Bissau.
Material and Methods
A case-control study that included 109 children aged 0 to 59 months of a rural community in Guinea-Bissau was conducted. The anthropometric assessment of children in the study identified 31 cases of chronic malnutrition (z-score height for age < -2) and 78 controls (z-score height for age ≥ -2). Microscopic examination of stools was performed for detection and identification of G. duodenalis and other parasites.
The microscopic analysis of stool samples revealed G. duodenalis infection in 29.0% (9/31) of cases and 35.9% (28/78) of controls. No association between the infection with G. duodenalis and chronic malnutrition in children under study could be established.
Discussion and Conclusion
The results reinforce the interest in designing further studies exploring this association in different
regions and epidemiological settings, while direct to the importance of the criteria for malnutrition definition which influences the subsequent analysis.