Letters to the Editor

Indian Pediatrics 2000;37: 224

Vitamin A Levels in Plasma and Concomitant Intestinal Parasitosis in Howrah

Vitamin A levels in plasma and hemoglobin were estimated in 100 children aged between 6-12 years. These children were of average build and nutrition. There was no history of measles in any of the subjects in recent past. They used to take average Bengali diet consisting of rice, bread, dal, vegetables and eggs or meat or fish daily. The presenting complaints were weak-ness, anoxeria, pallor, recurrent pain abdomen, diarrhea, dysentery and big abdomen. The socio-economic status was medium. None of them were from elite society and the average monthly income of the parents was around Rs. 3000/- per month. Their stools were examined for ova, parasites and cysts within 4 hours of collection. Direct fecal examination was done on fresh specimen and saline Iodine staining for detection of protozoa. Parasites were detected in 42 stool samples. The most prevalent para-site was Ascaris lumbricoides in 33 samples. Others were E. histolytica in 30 samples, E. vermi-cularis in 28 samples, G. lambia in 21 samples and H. nana in 2 samples. Hook- warms or T. solium were not found in any stool sample.

The worm infestation in this city was lower than reported from other parts of this country and Nepal(1_4). Further hookworm and T. solium infestation were not found in these children.

The mean (±SD) hemoglobin concentration (measured by Sahli's hemoglobinometer) in these children was 9.8±1.2 g/dl. The mean serum retinol level was 66 units/dl. Serum retinal levels were inversly related to worm infestation; the 42% infested children had mean retinol level of 51 units/dl while the 58% non-infested children had corresponding value of 75 units/dl. The hemoglobin level in uninfested children was not higher than that in infested subjects.

Salil Kumar Mandal,
Head, Department of Physiology,
University College of Medicine,
Dr. B.C. Roy
Postgraduate Institute
of Basic Medical Sciences,
244B, Acharya J.C. Bose Road,
Calcutta 700 020, India.


1. Reddy VS, Bodhankder MG, Sinha SK. Intestinal parasites among children at Bharatpur, Nepal. Indian Pediatr 1998; 55: 76-77.

2. Subbanuayya K, Kumar A, Rao KNA, Shivananda PG. Parasitic infections in primary school children. Indian Pediatr 1984; 21: 479-483.

3. Dutta KK, Sharma RS, Goswami RN, Mishra RK. Prevalence of intestinal parasites in urban area of Alwar, Rajasthan. J Com Dis 1981; 13: 194-199.

4. Umesh K, Sheela S, Singh RRP, Srivastava SP. Haemoglobin level and concomitant intestinal parasitosis among children in and around Patna. Indian Pediatr 1999; 3: 521-522.


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