Soil-transmitted helminthiasis in children: evidence from school based epidemiological study in an urban Nigerian community
AbstractThe World Health Organization in 2002 estimated that more than one billion of the world's population is chronically infected with soil transmitted helminthes with 2 billion at risk. Children are important high risk group for soil transmitted helminthes since they are continuously being exposed to contaminated soil and water. Furthermore a large proportion of them are likely not to be aware of the need for good personal and environmental hygiene. To determine the prevalence and intensity of soil-transmitted helminthes and factors associated with their transmission among primary school children. A cross sectional study design was used and multistage sampling technique was employed to select 250 children from the Primary Schools in Pakata, Ilorin West Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria. Independent variables were socio-demographic factors while dependent variables were knowledge and behaviours regarding personal and environmental hygiene in the control of soil transmitted helminthes. Proportions, confidence intervals, tests of significance were used for statistical analysis. The prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthiasis was 47.4%, while 9.5% and 1.4% of the children had double and triple infections respectively. Ascariasis lumbricoides constitute 38.3% of the soil-transmitted helminthes seen, while Trichuri trichuria and Hookworm constitute 16.5% and 15.2% respectively. All the soil transmitted helminthes in the stool analyzed were in category 1 WHO classification of soil-transmitted helminthes classes of intensity. There is no statistical difference between the prevalence and intensity of infection (p <0.05). Factors found to be associated with soil-transmitted helminthiasis were low educational level of respondents' parents (mothers), poor health awareness on soil-transmitted helminthes, unsanitary sewage disposal method and poor personal hygiene. A focused, concerted and effective information, education and communication drive is urgently needed for all aspects of soil-transmitted helminthes in primary school children. Periodic de-worming should also be embarked upon by government.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 49(6) 2006: 148-153