Prevalence and Impact of Socio-Economic/Enviromental Factors on Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection in Children Attending Clinic in a Tertiary Hospital in Benin City, Nigeria
Children are important risk group for soil-transmitted helminths (STH). Hence, this study was undertaken to determine the impact of mothers’ educational status, the method of fecal disposal and source of water supply on the prevalence of STH infection. Four hundred and ninety six children, aged 1-15 years, who presented at the Children Out-patient Clinic of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) were screened for STH in their stool, using methods of wet preparation and Stoll's technique for detection and counting of helminthes eggs. A semi-structured, researcher administered questionnaire was used to collect information on socio demographics of mother/care giver, history of de-worming, source of water supply, and method of fecal disposal. The overall prevalence of STH infections was 9.5%, corresponding to 6.9% of Ascaris lumbricoides, 2.4% of hookworm and 0.2% of Trichuris trichiuria. Infection with hookworm was of highest intensity. Age group 6 - 10 had the highest prevalence of STH. Mother/caregivers level of education, method of faecal disposal and source of water supply, all significantly influenced the prevalence of STH infection. There is need for a coordinated, multi-sectarian and multidisciplinary strategy that integrates periodic deworming, health education and environmental sanitation for effective control.
Keywords: Soil-transmitted helminths; Prevalence; Children; Benin City.
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