Prevalence and risk factors for intestinal nematode infections in children as environmental health indicators for prevention in Sub-Saharan tropical communities of Ebonyi state, Nigeria
A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted between November 2010 and February 2011 to assess the prevalence of intestinal nematode infections among children aged 1 – 14 years living in two communities of rural Ebonyi State, Nigeria, characterize the risk factors for infection and develop environmental health indicator for use for infection preventive activities. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to obtain information on sanitation, hygiene and socioeconomic variables. Stool samples were examined using existing standard protocols for parasitological detection and identification of nematode eggs/larvae. Results revealed that one or more nematodes infected the study population providing an overall prevalence of 57.9%. Dominant parasites encountered were A. lumbricoides (21.1%), hookworm (17.0%), T. trichiura
(12.8%), and S. stercoralis (5.9%). One species of intestinal nematodes was detected in 26.2% of infected population whereas 14.5% and 2.5% harboured two and three nematode species respectively. Identified risk factors were environmental, sanitation, hygiene, socioeconomic, crowding in households and availability of washbasin with water in toilets. The environmental health indicator developed summarized the biological,
environmental and social factors associated with risk infection. This could be incorporated into environmental and community-based health surveillance in line with the primary health-care delivery system initiative.
Keywords: Intestinal nematode, Prevalence, Intensity, Risk factor, Environment, Helminthiases