Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Background: A high percentage of the population in Latin America lives with intestinal parasitic infections, a neglected tropical disease frequently not treated. Intestinal parasitism is associated with other disorders, but information about the epidemiological situation in countries like Bolivia is scarce. Environmental conditions play a role in the prevalence of certain parasites. The main objective was to know the current situation of parasitic infections among children under 12 years old from different geographical areas of Cochabamba – Bolivia. Methods: We analysed the laboratory reports of four second-line hospitals in different areas and the Tertiary Care Hospital. Results of stool examinations performed between 2011 and 2015 in children under 12 years of age were collected. Results: We gathered the results of 23,221 examinations. The 89% of children were less than five years old. Pathogenic parasites were found in 31%. Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia were the two most prevalent parasites in all areas. Helminths were 19% of positive samples and Ascaris lumbricoides was the most prevalent. Parasitic infections are more frequent in tropical areas where helminths are highly concentrated. Pre-school age children (OR: 5.296; 95% CI: 4.81–5.83) and semi-tropical area (OR: 3.26; 95% CI: 2.90–3.66) were strongly associated to the presence of pathogenic parasites. Conclusions: Parasitic infections in children are still very prevalent in Bolivia. Protozoan infections are a major problem, while the prevalence of helminths seems to be decreasing. The most vulnerable population is still concentrated in semi-tropical and tropical areas, where the risk of parasitic infection is probably increased due to poor environmental conditions. Our results could allow reconsideration of more effective parasitic disease control policies, taking into account regional characteristics.