Nigerian Journal of Paediatrics

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Risks of intestinal helminthiasis in children living in orphanages in Benin city, Nigeria

DU Nwaneri, VO Omuemu


Background: Risk factors of intestinal helminthiasis include poor personal hygiene/care, and behavioural aberrations such as finger sucking, nail biting and pica which had been found to enhance intestinal ova transmission.
Objectives: To determine risk factors of intestinal helminthiasis in children living in orphanages in Benin City, Nigeria.
Subjects and Methods: Fresh stool samples from 140 children (0 – 17 years) living in 10 orphanages in Benin City, were analyzed using the Kato-Katz technique for the detection of ova of helminths between January-April, 2011.
Results: Prevalence of intestinal helminthiasis was 20.7%. Children ages 12 – 17 years had highest prevalence of intestinal helminths. Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were the intestinal helminths isolated. Behavioural aberrations were represented more in infected subjects than the noninfected children (χ2 = 3.94, p = 0.047, O.R = 2.3). Nail biting and use of common towel were the most significant independent predictors of intestinal helminthiasis (p = 0.017 and 0.028 respectively). Hand washing with water and soap after defeacation was significantly associated with decreased prevalence of intestinal helminthiasis (p = 0.016).
Conclusion: Behavioural modification, good personal hygiene and provision of towels for each child living in the orphanage should be integral part of intestinal helminths control in orphanages.
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