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Hookworm infestation as a risk factor for Mooren's ulcer in South India.

Ophthalmology 2007 March
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between Mooren's ulcer and intestinal hookworm infestation in South India.

DESIGN: Prospective observational case-control study.

PARTICIPANTS: Fifteen patients with Mooren's ulcer and 30 age- and gender-matched controls seen at Aravind Eye Hospital.

METHODS: Stool samples from the Mooren's ulcer patients and controls were collected and analyzed for presence of hookworm infestation.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Prevalence of hookworm infestation in Mooren's ulcer patients and controls.

RESULTS: There was a statistically significant correlation between intestinal hookworm infestation and the occurrence of Mooren's ulcer (P = 0.009). Retrospective exploratory subgroup analyses suggested that the correlation between intestinal hookworm infestation and the occurrence of Mooren's ulcer in men (P<0.0001) was stronger than the correlation in women, with no statistically significant difference being observed in the prevalence of hookworm infestation between women with Mooren's ulcer and female control subjects (P>0.99). Similarly, when both the Mooren's ulcer and the control subject groups were analyzed retrospectively by age > 50 years or age < 50, subjects with an age over 50 demonstrated a stronger correlation between hookworm infestation and Mooren's ulcer than controls (P = 0.017), whereas there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of hookworm infection between Mooren's ulcer subjects and control subjects < or = 50 (P = 0.31).

CONCLUSION: Intestinal hookworm infestation appears to be associated with the development of Mooren's ulcer in South India. Although the power of our retrospective exploratory subgroup analyses was limited by multiple testing and small sample sizes, these data suggest further that the correlation between intestinal hookworm infestation and the development of Mooren's ulcer may be greatest in male patients with more advanced age.

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