Prevalence and intensity of intestinal parasitic infections and factors associated with transmission among school going children
Objective: To determine the prevalence and intensity of intestinal parasitic infections and factors associated with transmission among primary school going children.
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Muthithi Location situated in Murang’a County, Kenya.
Subjects: Multi-stage sampling was used to select 418 children. Stool specimens were examined using Kato-katz technique to determine the number of helminthes eggs per gram of stool and formol ether concentration technique to detect the different protozoan cysts. Data were analysed using Statistical Package format (SPSS version 20.0). Pearson’s Chi-square test was used to establish the association between categorical variables. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the factors associated with the infections.
Results: The study established that 53.8% (225 out of 418) were infected with one or more of intestinal parasite. Five species of helminthes were identifiedwith prevalence of 11.5%; the predominant helminth parasite identified was Ascaris lumbricoides 9.1% (38 cases). Intestinal protozoan identified in this population was Entamoeba histolytica with prevalence of 42.3% (177 cases). The factors established to be independently associated with presence of intestinal parasitic infection were: age 11-15 years P<0.001, use of plain water for hand washing P<0.05, eating food without spoon P<0.05, consuming raw vegetables P<0.001, untrimmed finger nails P<0.001 and source of drinking water [river P<0.001 and mixed sources (river, well and tap) P<0.05].
Conclusion: This study revealed that intestinal parasites still pose a public health problem to school going children. Despite lack of school based deworming programme in this area, treatment combined with health education and other interventions in school age children is recommended as a way of controlling transmission.