Socio-demographic influences on the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among workers in Qatar
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The rapid growth of Qatar in the last two decades has been associated with an enormous expansion of building programs in its cities and in the provision of new service industries. This in turn has attracted a large influx of immigrant workers seeking employment in jobs associated with food handling, domestic service, and the building industry. Many of these immigrants come from countries in the tropics and subtropics where intestinal parasitic infections are common. In this study, we explored the environmental and socio-demographic characteristics of immigrant workers in Doha Qatar, which might explain the persistence of the parasites that they harbor. This cross-sectional survey was conducted among 2486 newly arrived immigrant workers and those who visited Qatar previously during the period 2012-2014. Through questionnaires and census data, we characterized the socio-demographic conditions at an individual, family, and neighborhood levels. Overall, the prevalence of combined protozoan infection was 11.7% and that of helminth was 7.0%. Combined protozoan infections were significantly associated with immigrant workers arriving in Doha for the first time. In univariate log-linear statistical models fitted in phase 1 of the analysis, significant associations were observed between the prevalence of combined protozoan infections and personal and familial factors that included religion, the level of education of subjects, both parents' educational levels and their jobs, and the number of siblings. Furthermore, environmental effects on the prevalence of protozoan infections including the country of origin, the floor of the house, toilet type, household content index, provision of household water, farming background showed strong associations with protozoan infections. However, in phase 2, multifactorial binary logistic generalized linear models focusing only on the significant effects identified in phase 1, showed that only five factors retained significance (age class, floor of the house, household contents index, father's education, and the number of siblings). The only factors that had a significant effect on the prevalence of helminth infections were the subjects' age class and the mother's educational level. The prevalence of intestinal protozoan parasites among immigrant workers in Qatar is clearly multifactorial in origin determined by key familial relationships of subjects and also the environment, in which the subjects lived prior to their arrival in Qatar. Moreover, our results suggest that screening protocols for applicants for visas/work permits need to be revised giving more careful attention to the intestinal protozoan infections that potential immigrant workers may harbor.
- Biomedical Sciences [316 items ]