Soil-transmitted helminth infections among school aged children in Lagos State, Nigeria
An epidemiological investigation was carried out between February to July 2017 to investigate the prevalence of soil transmitted helminths (STHs) among primary school children aged 7 – 14 years in Lagos Island and Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGAs of Lagos State. The pupils were screened parasitologically for STHs, anthropometric data which includes the height (cm) and weight (kg) of each pupil were recorded using height scale and weighing balance respectively. Furthermore, questionnaires which probed into their knowledge of cause, symptoms, predisposing factors to infection, level of hygiene and sanitation of each respondent were administered. The parasitological examination of the 413 stool samples collected showed that 132(32%) were positive for STHs. The three STHs recorded were: Ascaris lumbricoides (50%), Trichuris trichiura (23%) and hookworm (3%). Co-infections prevalence of A. lumbricoides with T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides with hookworm were 23% and 1% respectively. There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the prevalence of STHs among males and females, the prevalence between the two LGAs was significantly different (p<0.05). Prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting were 10, 24.2 and 19.4% respectively. Majority of sampled children indicated washing their hands before food (98.1%), washing of fruits before eating (70.8%), washing of hands after toilet (98.6%), but only 25% of them actually wash their hands properly with soap. The high prevalence and impact of STH infections among school children can be attributed to poor hygienic condition and low socio-economic status of residents in the study area. Education on proper hygiene habits and regular deworming exercise is recommended.
Keywords: Soil transmitted helminths, School aged children, Anthropometric data, Co-infections, Wasting, Stunting