Introduction and objective:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 95% of all parasitic infections reported globally result from poverty, poor personal hygiene practices, open defecation practices, consumption of contaminated drinking water, and improper handling of food. The rates of parasitic infections are particularly high in the paediatric population. One of the low-income African countries, where 75% of residents live below the poverty level, is the island of Madagascar. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among school children living in northern Madagascar.

Material and methods:
The screening was conducted in October 2023 and involved a group of 241 school children aged 5–15 years, inhabiting the Mampikony district of Madagascar. Single stool samples were collected from study participants, the samples were fixed in SAF solution, transported from Africa to Europe, and analyzed by light microscopy using 3 different diagnostic methods (direct smear, decantation with distilled water, Fülleborn method) at the Department of Epidemiology and Tropical Medicine, Military Institute of Medicine – National Research Institute in Poland.

The overall prevalence of intestinal parasites in the study group was found to be 71.0%. Pathogenic intestinal parasites were detected in 65 patients (27.0%), with Giardia intestinalis being the most prevalent (21.2%). Most infections were caused by potentially pathogenic stramenopila Blastocystis spp. (48.6%).

The prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections is high in the community of school children in northern Madagascar. There is an urgent need to implement long-term prevention measures which would effectively limit the spread of new cases, and reduce the prevalence rates of intestinal infections in the local community.

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