Occurrence of Loasis in a Savannah Ecosystem of The Jos Plateau, North Central Nigeria
Infection due to Loa loa is not common in a typical savannah ecosystem, however, it constitutes health challenge where they exist leading to blindness similar to onchocercaisis. This study evaluated the occurrence of loasis in ten (10) communities of Jos East LGA, Plateau State, North Central Nigeria. Blood samples were collected from 768 consented persons between 12 noon and 4.00 pm. Parasitological analysis using 10 % Giemsa stain results showed that 50 (6.5%) of the sampled population was found to be infected with Loa loa microfilaria. An unequal distribution pattern was recorded between villages with the highest infection rate of 13% at Maigemu followed by Duguza (12.7%), while the lowest infection rates were recorded at Sabon Kaura (3.2%) and Maijuju (3.5%). No Loa loa microfilariae were found in persons residing in Agwan Sarki during the period of this study. Infection rate showed significant (P<0.0004) variation in relation to sex. There was, however, no significant (P>0.4) difference in infection rate between the age groups. No symptoms of loasis was recorded during the survey. There were no Chrysops fly vectors found in the study area where reports showed that the flies had occurred in the communities. The results are of public health importance as it provides update on the status of loasis in a typical savannah ecosystem.
Keywords: Onchocerciasis, Loasis, microfilariae and Savannah ecosystem