Soil contamination rate, prevalence, intensity of infection of geohelminths and associated risk factors among residents in Bazou (west Cameroon)
Background: Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) infections remain an important public health problem in the tropics. This study aimed to evaluate the soil contamination rate and prevalence of infestations of geohelminth among residents in Bazou.
Methods: Four hundred (400) soil samples and 182 stool specimens were collected respectively from four sites and from inhabitants aged 1 to 40 years and above in 12 households. A questionnaire was administered to evaluate risk factors of STHinfections. Soil samples were screened using sucrose centrifugal flotation method while stool specimens were analyzed using two techniques.
Results: Out of the 400 soil and 182 stool samples examined, 13(3.3%) and 9(4.95%) were positive respectively after analyses. Soil contamination rates were 2%, 1% and 0.3% for Ascaris, Trichuris and hookworm eggs respectively while 4.95% of stool samples were positive to one species nematode (Ascaris lumbricoides). The soil contamination rate observed (5%) in the rainy season was significantly different (p>0.05) from the one observed (1.5%) in the dry season. Irrespectively of the season, the most frequent parasite identified was Ascaris spp. Soils around houses were more contaminated 6(12%) as compared to those collected from markets 5(10%) and roads 2(4%) while those around classrooms were not contaminated. Participants in the age group of 1-10 were more infected. Factors such as no hand washing habit and untrimmed finger nails were found to be important risk factors for STH.
Conclusion: These results suggest the necessity to promote measures that could help to reduce STH infections.
Keywords: Soil contamination, geohelminths, risk factors, Bazou, Cameroon, Sub-optimal breast feeding, Hula District