Soil transmitted helminth infection among farmers in Ukwa West Local Government Area, Abia State, south-east, Nigeria
Background: Farmers like most groups of workers are faced with a multiplicity of hazards and biological hazards like Soil Transmitted Helminths - a major Public health problem in the tropical like Nigeria is one of them. This study was to determine the prevalence of Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STHs) infections among farmers in Ukwa West Local Government Area (LGA) of Abia State,South East Nigeria.
Methods: Following ethical clearance,290 consenting farmers were recruited to participate in this descriptive cross sectional study. They responded to pre-tested, structured, close ended interviewer administered questionnaires which probed socio-demographics,knowledge and behaviour towards STHs.Also, stool and blood samples were collected from participants and examined for helminth ova and estimation of packed cell volume respectively.A Walk Through Survey of the farms for immediate work place situation and safety was carried out. Collected data were analysed using descriptive and analytical tools.
Results: There was a 33.1% prevalence of infection with STHs and a 67.6% prevalence of anaemia among respondents. Hookworm had the highest (59.6%) prevalence just as anaemia amongst farmers with STHs was higher than among respondents who were not diagnosed with the disease.Knowledge of STHs and the availability and use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) were poor.
Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of STHs among farmers in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State, South East Nigeria occasioned inter alia by the behaviour and poor use of PPEs. Health Education, routine de-worming and use of PPEs are recommended.
Keywords: Farmers,Soil Transmitted Helmints,anaemia