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Intestinal parasitic infections among under-five children and maternal awareness about the infections in Shesha Kekele, Wondo Genet, Southern Ethiopia

LA Nyantekyi
M Legesse
M Belay
K Tadesse
K Manaye
C Macias
B Erko


Background: Few studies have reported the magnitude of intestinal parasitic infections among under-five children in tropical countries. Moreover, there is little information on maternal awareness about intestinal parasitosis.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of intestinal parasitosis among under-five children, and assess maternal awareness about it in Shesha Kebkele, Wondo Genet, Southern Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 288 under-five children was conducted and stool samples were collected and examined for intestinal parasites using Kato-Katz and formol-ether concentration methods. In addition, a total of 130 mothers of under-five children were interviewed regarding their awareness about intestinal parasitic infections.
Results: Of the 288 children, 245 (85.1%) were found infected with one or more intestinal parasites. The prevalence of Trichuris trichiura, Schistosoma mansoni and Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, and Hymenolepis nana infections as determined by Kato-Katz were 74.7%, 37.2%, 25.7%, 5.9%, and 4.5%, respectively. On the other hand, the
prevalence of Strongyloides stercoralis, Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, and Entamoeba coli infections as determined by formol-ether concentration method were 0.69%, 13.2%, 0.35%, and 2.1%, respectively. Most mothers were reasonably aware of the mode of transmission of ascariasis, amoebiasis and giardiasis while they had
very limited knowledge of bilharzia and hookworm transmission. Almost all of the respondents reported that infections with intestinal parasites could cause retardation of growth and death in children unless treated.
Conclusion: Intestinal parasitic infections were prevalent in varying magnitude among under-five children in Wondo Genet area, Southern Ethiopia. Mothers in the study area had a fairly good knowledge of the impact of infections but limited knowledge of the mode of transmission of intestinal parasitic infections. Improvement of sanitation and health
education are required besides preventive chemotherapy to control worms (except for schistosomiasis in under-five which need treatment on an individual basis) and other intestinal parasitic infections in the area.

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eISSN: 1021-6790