Jasmen S. Pasia | Winifreda U. de Leon
The study aimed to describe a new focus of Echinostoma infection in the Philippines and its determinants in Barangay New Sibonga, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province. Identifying the demographic profile (age, gender, and family income) and eating habits (food preferences, methods of food preparation and handling, and cooking practices) comprised the guidelines for conducting this study. A mass stool survey was carried out in the study area. Residents of the 8 puroks were requested to submit stool samples. Environmental factors were studied using ocular inspection, as well as key informant interviews and focus group discussions(FGDs) with health workers and residents of the barangay. The survey showed that, out of 210 stool samples collected and examined using Kato- Katz technique, 10 (4.8%) stool samples were found to contain Echinostoma eggs, 20 (9.52%) stool samples were found to contain heterophyid eggs, and 109 (51.9%) stool samples were found to contain soil-transmitted helminthes eggs. This study reports Barangay New Sibonga, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province as a new focus for echinostomiasis in the Philippines. In the study population, echinostomiasis occurs in all age groups, the highest egg-positivity rate was seen in age group 15-19 (6.7%). Both male and female populations were affected with a greater percentage among males (7.2%) than females (2%) infected. Fishes and snails constitute the major food diet in the study area to which the residents obtain from the nearby rice fields and fish ponds. Local residents revealed that these food items are either served half-cooked or eaten raw as kinilaw and sinugba. The results of this study illustrate the recognition of the possible problem of echinostomiasis, the need for accurate laboratory diagnosis, and the collection of basic epidemiological data that are fundamental in the control and prevention of this health problem at the community and local health system levels.