Lactose intolerance among under five children with malaria in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
This study assessed the occurrence of lactose intolerance among children under five years of age with malaria in Port Harcourt, south-southern Nigeria. One hundred and twenty-four (124) under five children attending paediatric clinics in Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt, were selected for the study through purposive and systematic random sampling. Blood samples were collected from heel or thumb prick of the children to determine malaria parasite status while stool samples were collected for stool acidity test to determine lactose intolerance in the children. Data was analyzed on SPSS version 20.0. Results show that among the study children, there were more females (56.5%) and mostly those 2 years of age (26.6%) of which 54.8% were nourished. All the children tested positive for malaria with 53.3% having parasite density of 9000-50000 Å–. About 69.4% of these children had acidic stool pH (< 5.5) indicative of lactose intolerance. The study found a significant relationship between malaria parasite density and lactose intolerance (p<0.05). A significant relationship (p<0.05) was also found between nutritional status and lactose intolerance among children with malaria. Malaria infection could predispose to lactose intolerance in children as observed in this study. It is therefore very important that prevention or early diagnosis and treatment of malaria among under-five children should be greatly encouraged to prevent lactose intolerance and its deleterious outcome in children.
Keywords: Lactose Intolerance; malaria; under five children, Nigeria.