Pattern of intestinal helminthiasis among under five children and their family members in Ilesa West Local Government Area, Osun State, Nigeria
Background: Intestinal helminthiasis is one of the most common infestations worldwide, especially among the poorest communities of the developing world. The disease burden of intestinal helminthiasis is as great as those of tuberculosis (34.7 million Disability Adjusted Life Years - DALYs) and malaria (46.5 million DALYs). It has significant adverse impact on the growth and cognitive development of children especially those less than five years who make up 10 to 20 percent of the two billion people who are infested with helminths. A number of studies have identified some of the risk factors for helminth infestation among school-aged children but relatively little work has been done on helminth infestation among children aged less than five years. It was therefore necessary to embark on this study, with the aim of studying the pattern of intestinal helminthiasis among under five children and their family members in Ilesa West Local Government Area of Osun State, Nigeria.
Methods: A descriptive cross sectional survey of 340 children under five years, and their caregivers was conducted in Ilesa with a pretested interviewer administered structured questionnaire. Stool specimens were examined using the kato-katz technique.
Results: Stool was positive for helminths among 81 (23.8%) study subjects and in 73 (21.5%) families, another family member was helminth infected. Majority (44, 54.3%) of infected children were females. Children in the age group 12 – 24 years (24, 29.6%) were the most affected. Intensity of infection was light (less than 1000 eggs per gram of stool) among study subjects and their family members. Ascaris lumbricoides occurred most frequently among study subjects (82.7%) and their family members (86.3%). Surprisingly, there was no mix infection in the study. Majority of the studied families belong to the higher socioeconomic class (228, 67.1%). Most mothers reported that they washed their hands before eating (99.1%), after using the toilet (94.4%) and after toileting for their children (79.4%).
Conclusion: The frequency of helminth infection was found to be high among children under five years and their family members.
Keywords: intestinal; helminthiasis; under-five; children; family