Survey of haemoparasitic infections among Fulani pastoralists in Rivers State
This investigation was conducted between March 2010 and November 2011, to determine the prevalence and transmission of haemoparasites amongst Fulani pastoralists in six communities of Rivers State, Niger Delta, Nigeria- Ahoada – East, Elele, Eleme, Elelenwo, Oyigbo and Bori. 2mls of intravenous blood samples were collected from 593 Fulani pastoralists. Thick and thin blood smear techniques were utilized and thin film was stained with Delafield’s haematoxylin. Of the entire pastoralists sampled, 538(90.7%) were positive for different heamoparasites, showing 564 (78.2%) for Plasmodium falciparum, while 74(2.5%) were positive for microfilariae of human filariasis. The microfilariae recovered, showed prevalence of 27 (4.6) for Loa loa; 38(6.4%) for Mansonella perstans and 9(1.5%) for Wuchereria bancrofti. No Oncherca volvulus was recovered during the study. Differences in the prevalence of haemoparasitic infections varied significantly in the six communities (x2=14.6, df = 3, p>0.05). The prevalence of haemoparasites was higher in Elelenwo community, with 114(99.1%). Sex-related prevalence showed, 326(88.3%) in males and 172(76.8%) in females. The haemoparasitic infections among male and female Fulani pastoralists were statistically significant, males: (x2=145.1, df 4, P>0.05), females :(x2=92.9, df = 4 p>0.05). Infections of haemoparasites within age groups varied significantly (x2=26.9, df =3, p>0.05) with 21-30 years having the highest prevalence of 119(98.3%). A decline in prevalence was observed among 50 years and above age group. Multiple infections in males were 32(8.7%), while females were 8(3.6%).Thus, multiple infections were higher in males than females. No W. bancrofti was recorded in the females. Occupation-related prevalence was significant within the study populations (x226.9, df =3, p>0.05), and the highest prevalence recorded among the nomads, with 336(96.8%). This study examined the interacting factors enhancing the high prevalence of haemoparasitic infections and further suggests, the provision of social amenities by government and other medical agencies to reduce haemoparasitic burden among pastoralists.
Keywords: Haemoparasites, pastoralist, microfilariae, prevalence, infections, vectors