Epidemiological studies on some parasitological and ecological aspects of schistosomiasis in Agatu, Benue State, Nigeria
This survey was designed to evaluate the prevalence of schistosomiasis in primary school pupils in Agatu area of Benue State; Nigeria, and to determine the predisposing factors of this disease. Urine specimens were examined for Schistosoma haematobium using the filtration technique and stool specimens were examined for S. mansoni and other intestinal parasites using the concentration technique. Water bodies in the study-area were examined for their gastropod fauna using the scooping net and hand-picking techniques. The overall prevalence of S. haematobium in the study-area was 6.6% with Ocholonya having the highest infection rate of 13.8%. The differences in community infection rate were not statistically significant (p>0.05). Male pupils had higher infection than female and the agegroup 10-14 had significantly higher infection rate (p<0.05). The overall prevalence of S. mansoni was much lower (0.6%) compared to other intestinal parasites. A. lumbricoides was the predominant intestinal parasite in the study population. A total of 151 aquatic snails were collected from water bodies in the investigated- communities, Bulinus and Biomphilaria species that act as intermediate host for schistosoma were 37 (24.5%). Other snail species were edible snails. Water bodies in Ocholonya accounted for 69.5% of total number of snails collected. Our findings justify a comprehensive epidemiological survey in this area, to understand the transmission dynamics of schistosomiasis. This will elucidate the reason(s) why despite the obvious epidemiological indicators that should favour the transmission of schistosomiasis yet the prevalence of the disease is this low.
Keywords: schistosomiasis, Agatu, Benue State; Nigeria.