Researchers from the degree in medicine of the CEU Cardenal Herrera (CEU UCH) of Castellón, in collaboration with the Paediatrics and Microbiology Departments of the University Hospital of La Plana in Villarreal, have conducted an observational study of the cases of giardiasis among children under 15 diagnosed between 2012 and 2019 in the Departamento 3 de Salud records of Castellón province. The results of this study have been published in Anales de Pediatría, the journal of the Spanish medical association in this field.
Its conclusions can help improve the clinical handling of the cases of this gastrointestinal parasitosis, which causes diarrhoea and abdominal pain, thus decreasing the possibility that these patients may worsen and prevent hospitalisation.
For the seven-year period studied, the CEU UCH and La Plana hospital researchers have analysed the 190 cases of giardiasis registered among children under 15, 55% of which affected children aged 0 to 4, mainly between the months of August and November. The most common symptoms were diarrhoea and abdominal pain. As many as 13% of the cases had co-infection with other microorganisms and 36% had comorbidities, meaning that they were present along with, for example, atopic dermatitis or lactose or fructose intolerance. In total, there were relapses or reinfections in 8% of cases following the initial treatment.
Giardiasis, a prevalent infection
When analysing the results obtained, the research team of the CEU UCH and the La Plana hospital conclude that giardiasis continues being a prevalent disease in the region, which is why it must be considered a probable diagnosis for gastrointestinal pathologies in children who suffer diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Its appropriate clinical handling, when the paediatric patients have these symptoms, will help decrease the likelihood of worsening, preventing hospital admission and decreasing its economical impact in terms of health costs, which the study set at €117 per patient.
The research team was comprised by CEU UCH graduates in Medicine and Nursery Zóser Saura Carretero and Miriam Villanueva Alarcón, respectively, together with lecturers from the Faculty of Health Sciences of the same university Isabel Aleixandre, Antonio Real and Paula Sánchez Thevenet, as well as Oscar Pérez Olaso and Pasqual Gregori, from the University hospital of La Plana, in Villarreal. The researchers had funding from the Research+Teaching programme of the CEU UCH to carry out this study, with the participation of then-students Saura and Villanueva.
The partial results of this study were presented at the 11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health, held in Liverpool in September 2019. The full study has now been published in journal Anales de Pediatría, a medical publication issued by the Spanish Paediatrics Association.
Saura-Carretero, Z., et al. (2021) Giardiasis in a paediatric population of the province of castellon. Clinical details and impact. Anales de Pediatría. doi.org/10.1016/j.anpedi.2020.06.023.