Epidemiology of soil-transmitted helminths, Schistosoma mansoni, and haematocrit values among schoolchildren in Ethiopia
Keywords:soil-transmitted helminthes, S. mansoni, haematocrit, primary schools, Ethiopia
Introduction: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of intestinal helminths, risk factors and haematocrit values among primary schoolchildren.
Methodology: Across-sectional study was conducted in 12 primary schools in March 2011. Stool samples were randomly selected from 778 children and were microscopically examined using Kato-Katz and formal-ether concentration methods. Haematocrit values were measured using heparinized capillary tubes.
Results: The overall prevalence of intestinal helminths was 51.5% (rural = 68.3%, urban = 36.2%). Hookworm spp., Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma stercoralis were more prevalent in rural schools, whereas Hymenolepis nana was higher in urban schools (p = 0.0001). With regard to haematocrit, 34% of rural and 21.7% of urban schoolchildren had haematocrit values below the median (40.5%) (p=0.001). Hookworm spp. and S. mansoni infected children had lower haematocrit values than non-infected children (p = 0.001). Lack of footwear was positively associated with intestinal helminths infection in rural schools [OR = 2.5 (95% CI: 1.5-4.1)], and having dirty fingernails and untrimmed fingernails were positively associated with the prevalence of intestinal helminths in urban samples [OR = 1.58 (95% CI: 1.03-2.5)].
Conclusion: The prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths and S. mansoni differs by geographical area of the schools and social determinants. Primary school de-worming and health education on proper hygiene are recommended.
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