Community’s awareness about intestinal schistosomiasis and the prevalence of infection in two endemic localities of Ethiopia

  • M Legesse
  • CR Jones
  • SK Singh
  • B Erko
  • Y Mekonnen
Keywords: Intestinal schistosomiasis, community’s awareness, prevalence, Ethiopia

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Intestinal schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma mansoni(S. mansoni) infection is a widely distributed disease in several localities of Ethiopia. However, very limited information is available on the level of community’s awareness about the disease. The aim of this study was to assess community’s awareness about intestinal schistosomiasis as well as the prevalence of the disease in two rural communities of Ethiopia. METHODS: In June 2004, a cross-sectional study on awareness and prevalence of intestinal schistosomiasis was conducted in rural communities living in Dudicha and Shesha Kekel peasant associations. RESULTS: Among 176 respondents from Dudicha, only 45 (25.6%) individuals heard about Bilharzia. Similarly, among 241 respondents from Shesha Kekel only 78 (32.4%) subjects heard about Bilharzia. The proportion of males who heard about Bilharzia was higher than that of females both in Dudicha (38% vs 7%, p< 0.001) and Shesha Kekel (51.6% vs 20%, p< 0.001). There was no significant difference in level of awareness about schistosomiasis between the two communities (Dudicha, 25. 6% vs Shesha Kekel, 32.4%, p> 0.05). Only 1(0.6%) individual from Dudicha and 6(2.5%) participants from Shesha Kekel had knowledge of the intermediate host. The prevalence of the disease was 43.2% in Dudicha and 31.6% in Shesha Kekel. The prevalence of infection was higher in males than in females in Dudicha community (56.7% vs 21.5%, p< 0.05). CONCLUSION: Although the disease was prevalent in the two sites, majority of the people had no awareness about schistosomiasis. Therefore, provision of health education could raise community’s awareness of schistosomiasis in such endemic areas of the country.
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