Soil-transmitted helminth infections at very high altitude in Bolivia

Angela Flores, José Guillermo Esteban, René Anglés Rivero, Santiago Mas-Coma

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28 Scopus citations


A cross-sectional study of soil-transmitted helminthiases in the Northern Bolivian Altiplano was carried out over the 6-year period 1992-97. Prevalences, intensities and associations were analysed from coprological results obtained in 31 surveys (28 in schools and 3 in individuals of all age-groups) performed in 24 Aymara communities located between the city of La Paz and Lake Titicaca, at an altitude of 3800-4200 m. Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were detected, with local prevalences in the range 1.2-28.0% and 0.0-24.0%, respectively. Significant differences in prevalence rates of trichuriasis were detected, with highest prevalences in male schoolchildren and in subjects aged >40 years. The global intensity ranged from 24 to 86 544 eggs per gram of faeces (epg) and from 24 to 4560 epg for ascariasis and trichuriasis, respectively. Higher intensities were noted in girls. A. lumbricoides egg counts were statistically significantly higher in the 5-8-years age-group. A positive association between A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura infections was detected. The proportion of heavy infections for A. lumbricoides was 0.1% and 1.0% in the school and community surveys, respectively. No heavy infection for T. trichiura was detected. The very high altitude and its severe environmental conditions may determine the relatively low prevalences and intensities in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-277
Number of pages6
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supportedb y funding from the STD Pro-grammeo f the Commissiono f theE uropeanC ommunities( DG XII: Science,R esearcha nd Development)( Contractn o. TS3-CT94-0294), Brussels,E U, by the Programmeo f Scientific Cooperation with Latin America, Institute de Cooperaci6n IberoamericanaA, genciaE spafiolad e Cooperaci6nI nternacio-nal (ICI-AECI), andby Projectsn o. UE96-0001 andno. PM97-0099 of the Direccidn General de InvestigacibnC ientifica y Ticnica (DGICYT), SpanishM inistry of Education and Culture, Madrid.


  • Ascaris lumbricoides
  • Bolivia
  • Coprological surveys
  • Intensity
  • Northern Altiplano
  • Prevalence
  • Soil-transmitted helminthiases
  • Trichuris trichiura
  • Very high altitude


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