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Implications of malaria and intestinal parasitic co-infections among out-patients of a secondary health facility in Owerri, Nigeria
The prevalence of malaria and gastrointestinal parasitic infections in out-patients of Federal Medical Center (FMC) Owerri Specialist Hospital, was studied between the months of January and June 2004. A total of 1,200 patients made up of preschool
children (400), school children (400) and adults (400) were enlisted for the study. Laboratory examination of the specimens showed an overall infection rate of 50.1% (pre-school children 41.7%, school children 44.0%, and adults 64.5%). Malaria had the highest prevalence of 28.1%, 19.0% and 24.2% respectively for pre-school, school children and adults. Amongst the intestinal parasites observed, Entamoeba histolytica was observed to be the most occurring (5.0% and 9.7% respectively in preschool, and school children), followed by Ascaris spp, (2.5%, 5.2% and 3.7% respectively) and E. coli
(3.2%, 2.0% and 11.5% respectively). The least occurring parasitic infection was found to be Schistosoma mansoni (0%, 0.5% and 0% respectively for preschool, school children and adult patients. Prevalence of anaemia was highest in the preschool
children (21%) and least in school children (9.1%). The associations between parasitic infections and anaemia were significant (p<0.05, pre-school children, p <0.01 for others). Anaemia due to malaria and hookworm infection were observed to be most prevalent among the studied population.
Keywords: malaria, intestinal parasites, out-patients, Owerri, Nigeria.
Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 28 (2) 2007: pp. 103-108