Risk of Intestinal Parasitic Infections in People with Different Exposures to Wastewater and Fecal Sludge in Kampala, Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study

Risk of Intestinal Parasitic Infections in People with Different Exposures to Wastewater and Fecal Sludge in Kampala, Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS Neg Trop Dis, March 2016 |

Authors: Samuel Fuhrimann, Mirko S. Winkler, Narcis B. Kabatereine, et al.

Urban wastewater and fecal sludge use is of growing importance all over the world. However, unsafe management and inappropriate use might exacerbate the transmission of infectious diseases, including those caused by intestinal protozoa (e.g., amebiasis and giardiasis) and parasitic worms (e.g., soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis). People living and working in densely populated and rapidly transforming cities in Africa and Asia are especially vulnerable.

We conducted a cross-sectional survey and assessed people’s risk of intestinal parasitic infections due to exposure to wastewater and fecal sludge management and use in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. We collected data on the prevalence, intensity, and risk factors of infections with parasitic worms and intestinal protozoa among slum dwellers, urban farmers, and workers maintaining the sanitation system.

We found high infection prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni and soil-transmitted helminths in urban farmers and slum dwellers after adjusting for age, sex, and educational attainment. Our data suggest that urban farmers are especially vulnerable to infections with intestinal parasites, which may play an important role in the transmission through contamination of their living and working environments. In view of our results, the control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis should be accelerated in Kampala.

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