Prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among patients attending Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, north-western Tanzania: a retrospective study
Gastrointestinal helminths and protozoan parasites may cause mild, acute and chronic human infections. There is inadequate reliable information on the epidemiology of these parasites among patients attending tertiary hospitals in Tanzania. This retrospective study was conducted using hospital data obtained from the Department of Medical Parasitology of Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) in Mwanza, Tanzania. A total of 3152 stool samples were recorded from January 2008-March 2010. Intestinal parasitic infections were recovered in 57.1% (1799/3152) of the stool samples. Helminths eggs were observed in 36.6% (1,153/3,152) of the samples with hookworm eggs recovered in 25.2% (793/3125) and S. mansoni in 5.6% (177/3125) of the samples. Protozoan parasites were recovered in 20.5% (646/3152) of the samples in which 13.6% 428/3152) had Entamoeba histolytica/ E. dispar and 6.9% (218/3152) Giardia lamblia. Prevalence of intestinal helminth infections was higher in females, 55.7% (95CI%, 51.7-59.7, n= 642) than males (n=511, 44.3%, 95%CI, 40.3-48.6). Similarly, the prevalence of protozoan infections was significantly higher among females (58.1%, 95%CI, 53.1-63.1) than males (42.3%, 95%CI, 36.5-48.2). The prevalence of helminth infections was highest among 45+ years olds and lowest in the 0-4 years olds while that of protozoan infections was highest in the 5-14 years age group (30.9%, 95%CI, 27.9-33.8) and lowest in the 0-4 years age group. In conclusion, this study shows that intestinal helminth and protozoan infections are among the common parasitic infections among patients presenting at BMC. This information may provide invaluable statistics needed for planning meaningful public control programmes that aim at reducing the prevalence and morbidity of parasitic infections.