Entamoeba histolytica Infection in Female Sex Workers: A Matched Case-Control Study in Durango, Mexico

Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sanchez-Anguiano, Jesus Hernandez-Tinoco, Sergio Estrada-Martinez, Alma Rosa Perez-Alamos, Agar Ramos-Nevarez, Sandra Margarita Cerrillo-Soto, Carlos Alberto Guido-Arreola


Background: Infection with Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica) can be potentially transmitted by sexual contact. The seroepidemiology of E. histolytica in female sex workers has not been studied. The aim of the study was to determine whether E. histolytica is associated with the occupation of female sex work. In addition, the correlates of E. histolytica seroprevalence in female sex workers were also investigated.

Methods: We performed an age- and gender-matched case-control study of 187 female sex workers and 374 women without sex work. Cases and controls were tested for the presence of E. histolytica IgG antibodies using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunoassay. Seroprevalence association with the characteristics of female sex workers was determined by bivariate analysis.

Results: Anti-E. histolytica IgG antibodies were found in five (2.7%) of 187 female sex workers and in 16 (4.3%) of 374 controls (odds ratios (OR) = 0.61; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.22 - 1.70; P = 0.34). Mean optical density of the immunoassay in seropositive cases and controls was 1.35 ± 0.93 and 0.73 ± 0.45, respectively (P = 0.05). Seroprevalence of E. histolytica infection did not vary significantly with age, education, socioeconomic level, or health status of sex workers. Seropositivity to E. histolytica did not correlate with work characteristics such as duration in the occupation, condom use, type of sex, or a history of sexually transmitted diseases, or with behavioral variables such as washing hands before eating, or consumption of untreated water.

Conclusions: Results indicate that female sex workers do not have an increased risk for E. histolytica infection in Durango City, Mexico. Further studies to determine the risk of infection with E. histolytica by sexual contact should be conducted.



Entamoeba histolytica; Case-control study; Epidemiology; Female sex workers; Risk factors; Mexico

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