The geographical distribution of tuberculosis (TB) overlaps with various parasitic infections. Uncovering the characteristics of coinfecting parasites that potentially affect the host susceptibility to TB is pertinent as it may provide input to current TB therapeutic and prophylactic measures. The present study was aimed at examining the types of parasitic infections in TB patients and healthy TB contacts (HC) in Orang Asli, Malaysian aborigines, who dwelled in the co-endemic areas. Stool and serum samples were collected from Orang Asli who fulfilled the selection criteria and provided written informed consents. Selected parasitic infections in the two study groups were determined by stool examination and commercial serum antibody immunoassays. The prevalence of parasitic infections in TB and HC participants were 100% (n = 82) and 94.6% (n = 55) respectively. The parasitic infections comprised toxocariasis, trichuriasis, amoebiasis, toxoplasmosis, hookworm infection, ascariasis, strongyloidiasis, and brugian filariasis, in decreasing order of prevalence. Overall, helminth or protozoa infection did not show any significant association with the study groups. However, when the species of the parasite was considered, individuals exposed to trichuriasis and toxoplasmosis showed significant odds reduction (odds ratio (OR) 0.338; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.166, 0.688) and odds increment (OR 2.193; 95% CI 1.051, 4.576) to have active pulmonary TB, respectively. In conclusion, trichuriasis and toxoplasmosis may have distinct negative and positive associations respectively with the increase of host susceptibility to TB.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.