Asymptomatic intestinal protozoa in school age children in Pategi, Pategi LGA of Kwara state, Nigeria.
Introduction: Intestinal protozoan infection is one of the principal diseases contributing to human illness and suffering in tropical countries with significant morbidity and mortality effect on children. The prevalence of intestinal asymptomatic protozoan infection was assessed (November, 2012 through May, 2013) among school age children in Pategi, Pategi Local Government area of Kwara State, Nigeria.
Materials and methods: Four public primary schools with nursery, prebasic and basic sections were used for the study. The age range was from 1 to 15 years old. Seven hundred and forty eight (748) stool specimens were collected and examined for protozoan cysts using the direct wet preparation and formol-ether concentration methods.
Results: One hundred and ninety seven (26.3%) of the samples were positive for intestinal protozoan parasite. The distribution of the parasites was E. histolytica/dispar (75.1), E. coli (18.8) and G. lamblia (6.1%). Balantidium coli cyst was not detected in the stool samples of the pupils. Highest prevalence of E. histolytica was observed among Gboke primary school (35.0%), closely followed by Nyamkpan (31.7%) and Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) (5.9%). Though males (28.0%) were more infected than female (24.7%), the difference was not statistically significant (P>0.05) except for G. lamblia infection (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The public health implication of asymptomatic carriage in cysts of intestinal protozoan among the children with poor personal hygiene was discussed. The use of mass chemotherapy and integrated measures of parasitic control would be of utmost importance in reducing the level of symptomatic infections among children.
Key words: Asymptomatic, amoebiasis, giardiasis, rural area, children.