Academic journal article American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal

Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites among School Children in a Rural Community of Anambra State, Nigeria

Academic journal article American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal

Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites among School Children in a Rural Community of Anambra State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract. A study was conducted to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites among school children in Awka-Etiti, Anambra state, Nigeria between July and October 2012. Five hundred faecal samples were examined using direct faecal smear and concentration technique. Factors that predispose children to parasitic infection were investigated using oral interview, direct observation of the environment and structured questionnaire. Three hundred and sixty children, (72%) were infected including 149(29.80%) males, and 211(42.20%) females. Ascaris lumbricoides was the most prevalent helminth parasite, 133(26.60%) and Entamoeba histolytica, 105(21.0%) the most prevalent protozoan parasite identified. Prevalence of infection was significantly higher in the age group 9 - 11 years than in other age groups (P<0.05). Ogwugwudiani community school was the most affected and the difference in the rate of infection the schools was significant (P<0.05). Children whose parents are farmers were significantly more infected (88.0%) than other children (P<0.05). There was no significant difference in the prevalence of infection between the sexes (P>0.05). The high prevalence of infection could be attributed to the poor sanitary status and poor personal hygiene of the children. Therefore, improvement in these factors through basic health education and de-worming at intervals is highly recommended.

Key words: parasite, Entamoeba, prevalence, Ascaris, helminth, infection.

INTRODUCTION

Intestinal parasitic infections are globally endemic and have been described as constituting the greatest single worldwide cause of illness and disease. Intestinal parasitic infections are associated with lack of sanitation, lack of access to safe water, poor nutrition, improper hygiene (Steketee, 2003). People of all ages are affected by parasitic infections but children are the most affected. Intestinal parasitic infections undermine the health status of children with more than one billion of the world's population including at least 400 million school children chronically affected (Harpham, 2002).

Through out history, human have been infected by parasite from single cell protozoa to large worms living in the gastrointestinal tract. The source of parasites has been faecal contaminated soil and vegetable. Ingestion of infective eggs from soil contaminated vegetables and water is the primary route of infection. Transmission also comes through municipal recycling of waste water into crop fields (Baird et al., 2002).

People became infected with Taenia solium and Taenia saginata by eating under cooked meat or drink unpasteurized milk. Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica are spread by fecal contamination of drinking water and foods as well as direct contact with infected dirty hand. Ascaris lumbricoides can be contacted and spread by eating infected faecal contaminated food, unwashed vegetables or raw fruits. Penetration of intact skin by infective stage is a means of transmission employed by Hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis. Swimming in contaminated water can also result in infestation by parasite such as Schistosoma sp. (Nematian et al., 2004). Allergies, anaemia, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue are some of the symptoms associated with parasitic infections. Waste products from parasites can irritate the nervous system resulting in anxiety and restlessness (Pillai and Kain, 2003). People with intestinal parasitic infections are usually under nourished and weak, infected with virus, fungi or bacteria (Methorn, 2001).

Intestinal helminthes may impair the development of their human host through their impact on nutrition and may affect nutrition by inducing iron-deficiency anaemia (Ezeamama et al., 2005). They attach themselves to the lining of the small intestine causing intestinal bleeding and loss of nutrient (Guarner, 2009).

Certain drugs are used in the treatment of intestinal parasitic infections including Piperazine, Mebendazole, Pyrantel pamoate, Albendazole etc. …

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