BACKGROUND: Under-regulated national borders in Southeast Asia represent potential regions for enhanced parasitic helminth transmission and present barriers to helminthiasis disease control.
METHODS: Three Thailand border regions close to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia were surveyed for clinical parasitic helminth disease. In-field microscopy was performed on stools from 567 individuals. Sub-samples were transported to Bangkok for molecular analysis comprising three multiplex qPCR assays.
RESULTS: The overall helminth infection prevalence was 17.99% as assessed by Kato-Katz and 24.51% by qPCR. The combined prevalence of the two methods was 28.57%; the most predominant species detected were Opisthorchis viverrini (18.34%), hookworm (6.88%; Ancylostoma spp. and Necator americanus), Ascaris lumbricoides (2.29%) and Trichuris trichiura (1.76%).
CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate the value of molecular diagnostics for determining more precise prevalence levels of helminthiases in Southeast Asia. Availability of such accurate prevalence information will help guide future public health initiatives and highlights the need for more rigorous surveillance and timely intervention in these regions.