Cryptosporidium infection among young children in Onitsha Urban Area in South –Eastern Nigeria
AbstractBackground: Cryptosporidum parvum is increasingly being reported as a cause of diarrhoea in different part of the world with higher incidence in young children.
Objective and Design: A cross –sectional study was carried out in Onitsha, an urban area in Anambra State, Nigeria.
Setting, Subject and Methods: Stool samples of 144 children under ten years old who presented in hospitals located in five different zones in the area were examined for Crytosporidum oocyts using modified Ziehl Neelsen technique and other intestinal parasites using wet preparation and formal –ether concentration techniques
Results: Sixty –four (44.4%) patients were infected with one or more parasites. Cryptosporidum oocysts were detected in stool of 12 patients aged 0 -2years.
Oocysts were found mainly in diarrhoeal stools giving a prevalence rate of 10.6 %( 9 patients) as against 5% (3 patients) with non- diarrhoeal stools. Cryptosporidum was the second most detectable parasitic agent after E. histolytica in diarrhoeal stools but in most of the cases it was the only detectable parasites.
Conclusions: This parasitic agent therefore may be responsible for some of the patients brought to hospitals with acute diarrhoeal, in which no causative agents can be detected with available routine laboratory techniques.
Awareness of the risk factors to infection is called for hence, the living conditions of the people in the area need to be improved with help of the government and co-operation of the inhabitant themselves.
Key Words: Cryptosporidum parvum, diarrhoea, children, Onitsha.
Tropical Journal of Medical Research Vol.8(1) 2004: 17-20