Helminthic infections among farmers in a rural community in Oyo State, south-western Nigeria
Background: Helminthic infections are occupationally-related diseases which potentially undermine farmers' work capacity, productivity and life expectancy. These infections are usually under-reported among this group particularly in the rural areas. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence, pattern and factors associated with helminthic infections among farmers in a rural community in Oyo State, South-western Nigeria.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 400 farmers, selected by a two-stage cluster sampling technique. A structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on respondents' demographic characteristics and farming activities. Stool was examined using microscopy for ova of helminths and Packed Cell Volume (PCV) was determined with anaemia defined as PCV ≤ 30%. Frequencies were generated and Chi-square test was used to determine associations at the level of p≤0.05.
Results: Majority of the respondents (71%) were males, aged ≥50 years (67.9%), of Yoruba ethnicity (94.2%), and had no formal education (69.8%). Most respondents (57.0%) were engaged in subsistence farming and 75.8% produced food crops. The prevalence of helminthic infections was 27.9%: the commonest forms were ascaris (68%) and hookworm (29.9%). Co-infections were found in 7.2% respondents with the most frequent combination being ascaris and hookworm. Twenty six (6.5%) of the farmers had anaemia. Significantly higher proportions of those aged ≥60 years and without education had intestinal helminthic infections and higher proportions of those with helminthic infections had anaemia compared with their respective counterparts (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Helminthic infection is prevalent among this population. Interventions targeted at prevention and treatment should be implemented.
Keywords: Farmers, Helminthic infections, Rural community, South-western, Nigeria