Spatial distribution and co-infection with urogenital and intestinal schistosomiasis among primary school children in Migori County, Kenya
Background: Schistosomiasis is the most prevalent helminthic infection in sub-Saharan Africa. School age children have the highest burden. Chronic schistosome infections in children can have irreversible effects lasting throughout adulthood.
Objective: To determine the prevalence, intensity and distribution of urogenital and intestinal schistosomiasis among primary school children in Migori County, Kenya.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Setting: Primary schools in Migori County, Kenya.
Subjects: Children aged seven to fourteen years.
Results: We enrolled 1,784 children with the ratio of female to males being 1:1. Their mean age was 11.4 years (standard deviation ± 1.6). The overall prevalence of infection was 26%, with urogenital and intestinal schistosomiasis being found in 9% and 20% of children, respectively. A trend of increasing prevalence with increasing age of children was observed. Boys had a 50% higher risk of being infected with schistosomiasis when compared to girls (adjusted odds ratio 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.2-1.9). Intensities of schistosome infections did not vary significantly across gender and age. Nyatike Constituency had the highest prevalence of schistosomiasis (54%).Prevalence in schools ranged from 1.7 to 89%. Seven schools (23%) had a schistosomiasis prevalence of at least 50% while 12 (39%) schools had schistosomiasis prevalence of between 10 and 50%.
Conclusion: Our study showed that schistosomiasis is endemic in the study area and represents a significant public health problem among school children. The area should be prioritised for interventions including mass deworming, public health education and sanitation improvement.