Korean J Parasitol.  2017 Oct;55(5):523-532. 10.3347/kjp.2017.55.5.523.

Intestinal Parasitic Infections and Environmental Water Contamination in a Rural Village of Northern Lao PDR

  • 1Section of Parasitology, Department of Biology, Healthcare and the Environment, Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2CIRAD Animal et Gestion Integree des Risques, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • 3CNRS-CIRAD, Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • 4National Institute of Health, Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
  • 5Centre Christophe Merieux du Laos, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic.
  • 6Detection and Diagnostic Laboratories, DSO National Laboratories, Singapore.
  • 7Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Thammasart University, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • 8Internal Medicine Division, Luangprabang Provincial Hospital, Laos People’s Democratic Republic.
  • 9Department of Helminthology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. kittipong.cha@mahidol.ac.th


A field survey studying intestinal parasites in humans and microbial pathogen contamination at environment was performed in a Laotian rural village to identify potential risks for disease outbreaks. A parasitological investigation was conducted in Ban Lak Sip village, Luang Prabang, Lao PDR involving fecal samples from 305 inhabitants as well as water samples taken from 3 sites of the local stream. Water analysis indicated the presence of several enteric pathogens, i.e., Aeromonas spp., Vibrio spp., E. coli H7, E. coli O157: H7, verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), Shigella spp., and enteric adenovirus. The level of microbial pathogens contamination was associated with human activity, with greater levels of contamination found at the downstream site compared to the site at the village and upstream, respectively. Regarding intestinal parasites, the prevalence of helminth and protozoan infections were 68.9% and 27.2%, respectively. Eight helminth taxa were identified in fecal samples, i.e., 2 tapeworm species (Taenia sp. and Hymenolepis diminuta), 1 trematode (Opisthorchis sp.), and 5 nematodes (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Strongyloides stercoralis, trichostrongylids, and hookworms). Six species of intestinal protists were identified, i.e., Blastocystis hominis, Cyclospora spp., Endolimax nana, Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar, Entamoeba coli, and Giardia lamblia. Questionnaires and interviews were also conducted to determine risk factors of infection. These analyses together with a prevailing infection level suggested that most of villagers were exposed to parasites in a similar degree due to limited socio-economic differences and sharing of similar practices. Limited access to effective public health facilities is also a significant contributing factor.


Ascaris lumbricoides; Trichuris trichiura; Strongyloides stercoralis; hookworm; Opisthorchis sp.; Taenia sp.; Blastocystis hominis; Cyclospora sp.; Endolimax nana; Entamoeba histolytica; Entamoeba coli; Giardia lamblia; environment; water; risk factor; Lao PDR
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