Prevalence and Associated Risk Factors of Intestinal Helminth Infections among 5-14 Year olds in Akpo Community, Anambra State, Nigeria
AbstractA significant portion of the population in Nigeria consists of indigenous people. Epidemiological data of the health status of these groups including intestinal helminthiasis are very limited. Provision of such data will be of great importance in the formulation of policy on control and prevention of diseases in this group. This studydetermined the prevalence and associated risk factors of intestinal helminth infections among school-aged children. A cross- sectional study involving 200 school-aged children was conducted between April and July 2011. Structured questionnaires were used to identify potential risk factors. Stool specimens were examined using ether concentration technique. Data were analysed using percentages, chi-square and logistic regression. The analysis were done with the aid of a software SPSS, version 20. Four species of intestinal helminthes were identified with overall prevalence of 46% (92 of the 200 children). The predominant parasites involved were Ascaris lumbricoides (19%), Trichuris trichiura (13%), Strongyloides stercoralis (8.0%), Hookworm (6%). Male samples recorded a prevalence of 52.5% whereas female samples had a prevalence of 47.5%. Using logistic regression, the following factors showed significant effect (p<0.05) as predisposing factors to intestinal helminth infections: water treatment, sanitary habits, refuse disposal, parental occupation, consuming fruits and vegetables without washing, and poor water. Toilet facilities, latrine use, consumption of suya (roasted and spiced beef) and being barefoot did not show significant effect (p>0.05) with the prevalence on intestinal helminthes. Results from this study signify the need to pay more attention to indigenous communities especially children who are at a higher risk of morbidity due to
helminth infections. Access to quality health services, which may include mass drug administration (MDA) and health education, should be ensured. Further studies may be necessary to explore more potential risk factors
contributing to the high prevalence recorded in this study.