Summary

In this study session, you have learned that:

  • Parasitic infection of the intestines could be due to protozoa or helminths.
  • Common types of intestinal protozoal infections in low-resource countries include ameobiasis and giardiasis.
  • Ameobiasis presents with dysentery (stools containing blood and mucus). Amoebic dysentery is rare in children, in contrast to shigellosis (bacillary dysentery) which mainly affects young children. Suspected cases of amoebiasis should be started on rehydration with ORS and then referred for laboratory diagnosis and treatment.
  • Giardiasis presents with pale, greasy and foul-smelling diarrhoea. For children with mild cases, treat as for acute watery diarrhoea, by rehydrating with ORS. For persistent or severe cases in children, and all adults with suspected giardiasis, start rehydration and then refer them for laboratory diagnosis and treatment.
  • Common diseases caused by intestinal helminths in low-resource countries include ascariasis and hookworm infection.
  • Ascariasis is the commonest intestinal helminth infection in children. Cases present with abdominal discomfort and you may see the passage of live worms with the faeces or vomit.
  • Hookworm infection is a common cause of anaemia in areas where walking barefooted is common and sanitary conditions are poor. Refer suspect cases for laboratory confirmation and educate the community on shoe wearing, use of latrines and proper disposal of faeces.
  • All children aged between two to five years should be routinely dewormed every six months to kill ascaris and hookworms.
Last modified: Thursday, 10 July 2014, 3:37 PM