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November 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1993 Aug; 37(4): 531-9.

Factors influencing self-diagnosis and treatment of perceived helminthic infection in a rural Guatemalan community.

Booth S, Johns T, Lopez-Palacios CY.

School of Dietetics & Human Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Changes in the diagnosis and treatment of helminthic infection were examined during a longitudinal study in a rural community in Guatemala. Self-diagnosis was predominant, with an increase in perceived helminthic infection during an economic crisis within the community. Allium sativum L. and Chenopodium ambrosoides L. were used as anthelmintics, often in conjunction with commercial drugs. During the economic crisis the use of plants as treatment for perceived infection increased whereas use of commercial helminthic medicine decreased. Dietary modifications were observed during periods of perceived infection, but were not consistent in the food items modified or the nature of the modification. Within the community individuals exhibited considerable heterogenity in their approaches to treatment.

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