Prevalence and pattern of intestinal parasites among pupils of private and public primary schools in an urban centre, Nigeria
Background: Intestinal parasitic infection is highly prevalent among children in the tropics. Identifying the most at risk group and subsequent targeted intervention will lead to cost effective and easy to implement control programme. We thus aim to determine the prevalence and pattern of intestinal parasite among pupils from public and private schools.
Material and Method: This was a cross-sectional survey. Participants were recruited through multistage stratified random sampling. Information were collected using a questionnaire and early morning freshly passed stool sample was collected and processed from each participating pupil. Stool microscopy was done using saline and iodine preparations. Eggs were counted using Stoll’s method. Data obtained was analyzed using EPI INFO version 3.5.1.
Results: Four hundred and twenty pupils were studied, 210 pupils from each school type. Prevalence of 78.1% and 17.1% were recorded for the public and private schools respectively. The pupils from the public schools were 17.23 times more likely to have intestinal parasitic infestation compared to those from private schools (OR =17.23, 95% CI = 10.6-28.01, p = <0.0001). Ascaris lumbricoides was the most frequent isolate in both the public (62.8%) and private (66.7%) schools. The prevalence of multiple parasitic infestation was 14.8% in the public schools and none in the private schools. Socioeconomic status and source of water were the main factors with significant effect on the prevalence of intestinal parasite (p<0.0001).
Conclusion: Intestinal parasitic infestation remains a very common health issue among the children particularly in the public schools. Distribution of free antiparasitic drugs to pupils at the beginning of every term should be incorporated into the school health program.
Key words: Intestinal Parasites, Ascaris lumbricoides, public school, private school, socioeconomic status.