The prevalence of Giardia and other intestinal parasites in children, dogs and cats from aboriginal communities in the Kimberley.Med J Aust. 1993 Feb 01; 158(3):157-9.MJ
To determine the prevalence of Giardia duodenalis and other intestinal parasites in children, dogs and cats from Aboriginal communities in the west Kimberley region of Western Australia.
A four-year parasitological survey of faecal specimens from humans and faecal and intestinal specimens from dogs and cats.
Local hospital servicing Aboriginal communities surveyed in this study and the Veterinary School, Murdoch University.
Children (under 14 years) and adults, as well as dogs and cats, from five Aboriginal communities.
G. duodenalis was the most prevalent parasite in children and adults (32.1% in children, n = 361; 12.5% in adults, n = 24). Human infections with Hymenolepis nana (20.5%) and Entamoeba coli (13.0%) were also common. Ancylostoma duodenale (1.3%), Pentatrichomonas hominis (1.0%), Chilomastix mesnili (0.52%), Entamoeba hartmanni (0.52%), Sarcocystis sp. (0.52%), Trichuris trichiura (0.26%), Enterobius vermicularis (0.26%), Strongyloides stercoralis (0.26%) and Isospora belli (0.26%) were present at low rates. Dogs were most commonly infected with Ancylostoma caninum (51.1%) and G. duodenalis (17.0%). Cats were found to have a high prevalence of Ancylostoma tubaeforme (18.2%), Toxoplasma gondii (18.2%), Isospora felis (15.1%) and Spirometra erinacei (15.1%).
This study has shown that children from Aboriginal communities in the west Kimberley region of Western Australia, particularly in the age group one to five years, are commonly infected with intestinal parasites. The dogs and cats in these communities are also infected. The high prevalence rates of Giardia and other enteric parasites in this survey are indicative of poor living conditions and low levels of hygiene. In addition, the high prevalence of hookworm and Giardia infection in dogs and hookworm and Toxoplasma infection in cats is of potential zoonotic significance for humans in these communities.