Current status of intestinal Schistosomiasis and soiltransmitted helminthiasis among primary school children in Adwa Town, Northern Ethiopia
Background: Epidemiological baseline information on the prevalence and intensity of parasitic infections in a given locality is a prerequisite for development and evaluation of sound control strategies.
Objective: To determine the current status of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis among primary school children in Adwa Town, northern Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross-sectional epidemiological study was carried out in eight primary schools in Adwa Town between October and November 2007. Fecal samples of 386 school children in the age group 7-18 were collected and
microscopically examined using the Kato-Katz and formol-ether concentration methods. A questionnaire was used to identify determinants for Schistosoma mansoni and soil-transmitted helminth infections.
Results: The most prevalent intestinal parasitic infection among primary school children in Adwa Town as determined by Kato-Katz (58.7%) and formol ether concentration (60.6%) methods was intestinal schistosomiasis, with an overall intensity of 95.8 eggs per gram of stool. The prevalence of S. mansoni infection was higher in males (70.7%) than in females (57%), as determined by both methods. Less common parasites observed included Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm species, Hymenolepis nana, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar.
Conclusion: The residents of Adwa Town represent a high-risk community with respect to intestinal schistosomiasis. Hence, mass praziquantel administration to school-age children and all adults considered to be at risk is required once a year until the level of infection falls below the level of public health importance. There is also a need to supplement chemotherapy with other measures such as environmental sanitation and health education to make the impact of chemotherapy sustainable.