"Freezing" parasites in pre-Himalayan region, Himachal Pradesh: Experience with mini-FLOTAC

Beatrice Barda, Davide Ianniello, Fulvio Salvo, Tsetan Sadutshang, Laura Rinaldi, Giuseppe Cringoli, Roberto Burioni, Marco Albonico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Helminths and protozoa infections pose a great burden especially in developing, countries, due to morbidity caused both by acute and chronic infections. Data on distribution of intestinal parasitic infections among the native and expatriates populations in Himachal Pradesh are scarce. The aim of our survey was to analyze the intestinal parasitic burden in communities from Dharamsala, Kangra district, in clinical and public health settings. We also field-tested the mini- FLOTAC, an innovative diagnostic device. Methods: Subjects referring to the Tibetan Delek Hospital for abdominal discomfort and all children of the Tibetan Primary School in Dharamsala were screened for intestinal parasitic infections with direct smear, formol-ether concentration (FEC) method and mini-FLOTAC, their clinical history was recorded, and correlations between clinical symptoms and infections analyzed. Results: 152 subjects were screened for intestinal parasites, of which 72 subjects in the outpatients department (OPD) (36 expatriates and 36 natives) and 80 in the school. 60% of schoolchildren and 57% of OPD patients were found positive for any infection, the most represented were protozoa infections (50%), whereas helminthic infections accounted only for 13% and 20% in OPD patients and schoolchildren, respectively. The most prevalent among helminths was Ascaris lumbricoides (11%). Giardia intestinalis was more present among schoolchildren than the OPD patients (20% vs 6%) and E. histolytica/. dispar was more prevalent among the OPD patients (42%) than the school children (23%). Correlations were found between nausea and loose or watery stools and parasitic infections, particularly in expatriates, whereas schoolchildren, despite being as infected as adults, were completely asymptomatic. Mini-FLOTAC detected higher number of helminth infections whereas FEC method was more accurate for the diagnosis of protozoa. Conclusions: This study presents an accurate snapshot of intestinal parasitic infections in Dharamsala, and their high prevalence calls for more awareness and control measures. Mini-FLOTAC is a promising and simple technique for the diagnosis of helminth infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalActa Tropica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Helminths
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Protozoa
  • STH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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