Risk Factors associated with Intestinal Parasitic Infections on School Children in Thika District, Central Kenya
The effective prevention and control of intestinal parasitic infections requires the identification of risk factors that contribute to their transmission, among high risk groups.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of intestinal parasitic infections among school children in public primary schools in Thika district.
Methods: A cross-sectional study, involving 377 schoolchildren, was conducted in Thika District Central Kenya. Interviews, observation, and anthropometric indices assessment were used to identify the risk factors predisposing the children to infections with parasites. Stool specimens were examined using Katz method for helminthes and formal ether concentration techniques for protozoan infections. Data was analysed using SPSS version.
Results: Ten species of intestinal parasites were identified. Ascaris lumbricoides 74 (19.6%) and hookworm 50 (13.3%) while Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba coli were the common protozoa in the study area. A higher prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides was reported among children in the slums. Entamoeba histolytica infection was associated with eating raw tubers and fruits (p< 0.001) in rural children. Iodamoeba bustchili infection was significantly associated with stunted children in rural children. Several factors contribute to high prevalence of intestinal parasites in school going children in Thika District.
Keywords: Risk factors, school-age, children, Anthropometrics indices