2015 Volume 43 Issue 4 Pages 211-216
Background: The intestinal coccidian protozoa Cyclospora cayetanensis has emerged as an important cause of parasitic diarrhea among children living in developing countries. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of Cyclospora among the school children of Kathmandu with reference to various associated risk factors.Methodology: A total of five hundred and seven stool samples from students between the age of 3–14 years, studying in 13 different schools in Kathmandu were collected during the study period (May–November, 2014) and processed at the Public Health Research Laboratory, Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu, Nepal. A modified acid fast staining technique (Kinyoun’s method) was used to detect oocyst of Cyclospora from the formal-ether concentrated stool samples.Results: Cyclospora was detected in 3.94% (20/507) of the stool samples examined. The prevalence was found to be highest among the students in the 3–5 year age group i.e. 10.15% (13/128), peaking during the rainy season (June–August). The detection rate was found to be significantly higher (p < 0.05) among children presenting with diarrheal symptoms, household keeping livestock and consumers of raw vegetables/fruits, showing a prevalence of 10.57% (11/104), 10.11% (9/89) and 7.25% (14/193) respectively.Conclusion: Consumption of untreated drinking water, fresh produce (raw fruits/vegetables) without proper washing and the presence of livestock at home were found to be predisposing factors for higher susceptibility of infection due to Cyclospora. This finding confirms the existence of a public-health issue with potentially serious consequences whereby children can be infected through exposure to oocysts in contaminated food and water and get ill as a result.