Medicine students and professors of the CEU UCH university of Castellón, Spain, together with specialists from hospitals in Villarreal and Valencia have collaborated in monitoring cases among the Valencian adult and paediatric population.
Medicine students of the CEU Cardenal Herrera university of Castellón, together with professors and specialists from two Valencian hospitals, have presented in a European congress in Liverpool, the results of monitoring two types of intestinal infections in the Valencian population: blastocystis, a budding intestinal infection, and giardiasis, which especially affects children under the age of 4. These two studies showcased at Liverpool are part of the research and teaching project of the CEU UCH named “PARA3-CV: The study of three parasitosis with repercussion on the public health of the Valencian Community,” headed by Vice-Dean of Health Sciences at the CEU UCH of Castellón, Paula Sánchez Thevenet.
Samuel Navalón, who recently graduated in Medicine at the CEU UCH, evaluated during his university studies the seasonal distribution of the presence of intestinal parasite Bastocystis spp in the Valencian population for two years, based on data obtained by the Microbiology Department of the Hospital Universitario Arnau de Vilanova, collaborating with doctor Victoria Domínguez and under the guidance of CEU UCH professor Isabel Aleixandre.
Of the samples that were positive for intestinal parasites, almost half, 49.2%, tested positive for Blastocystis spp, with an increased presence of this parasite being detected in the winter. The months of January, February and March are those where most positive samples were found, compared to May, June and July, when figures were lower. This increase in frequency during the colder months opposes figures from regions outside the Mediterranean climate, which is why it is necessary to continue conducting epidemiologic studies to confirm the detected trend. Blastocystis is a budding intestinal parasitosis, and more studies are needed to establish not only its prevalence, but also to verify its role as a pathogen.
Giardiasis: first study in children
The second study presented at the European congress of Liverpool was carried out by graduate Zóser Saura during his time at university, and represents the first epidemiologic study of giardiasis among children in Valencia. This is one of the main human intestinal infections worldwide, and both climate change and globalisation have made it reappear in Spain. Therein lies the importance of this monitorisation in the Valencian Community, especially among the paediatric population, which had never been specifically studied in the region.
Thanks to the collaboration of the Hospital Universitario de La Plana in Villarreal, a revision of the cases of giardiasis in children younger than 14 registered in the province of Castellón over six years was conducted. This analysis, which Zóser Saura completed with the collaboration of paediatrician and CEU UCH professor Pasqual Gregori, revealed that children aged 0 to 4 are the most prone to suffering this intestinal infection, which is more frequent in the hotter months of the year, and whose most common symptoms are diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
Results on leishmaniosis, at SOCEPA
The “PARA3-CV” research and teaching project also addresses a third parasitic disease of great repercussion for public health: leishmaniosis, comparing the epidemiology of this disease, which is endemic to Spain, among the Valencian and national population. In this case, the results of the study conducted by student Patricia Arenas, were presented at the last conference of the Spanish Parasitology Society (SOCEPA), held in Pontevedra. The work was conducted under the guidance of professor Rosa López Pedrajas, from the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the CEU UCH, and with the help of Pasqual Gregori.