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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-27

Helminthiasis in selected children seen at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Nigeria

Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
V A Wagbatsoma
Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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OBJECTIVES: Illiteracy, poverty with associated poor environmental sanitation practices have been implicated in the heavy burden of helminthiasis among children. The objective of this cross-sectional survey is to determine the impact of parents' level of education on the intestinal helminthic status of children. PATIENTS, MATERIALS AND METHODS: All patients, 0-15 years totaling 1030 who visited the communicable disease clinic of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, from October, 2001 to March 2002 were included in this study. However, only 207 of the enlisted patients submitted faecal samples for examination and constituted the study population. Tool for data collection was structured questionnaire that was researcher administered to mother/caregivers after informed consent was obtained. Information sought in the questionnaire included sex and age of the subjects and level of education of their parents. Formol ether concentration method was used for stool examination while intensity was estimated using McMaster counting chamber technique. RESULTS: Of the 207 faecal samples examined 46(22.2% ) had ova of helminths while 161(77.85% ) had none. More school children, 40(19.3% ), than pre-school children, 6(2.9% ) had helminth ova in their faecal samples and the difference was found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05). More females, 28(13.5% ) than males, 18(8.7% ) were infected but the difference was however not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Intestinal helminth ova seen in order of prevalence include A. lumbricoides, 23(11.1% ); hookworm, 12(5.8% ); T. trichiuria, 8(3.8% ); Schistosoma mansoni, 2(1.0% ); Strongyloides stercoralis, 1(0.5% ) while multiple infection was recorded in 11(5.3% ) patients. Intensity of infection was low. The difference between the means for A. lumbricoides, T. trichiuria and multiple infection by age were found to be statistically significant P < 0.001; P < 0.05; P < 0.001, respectively. Mother's level of education more than father's level of education seemed to influence the pattern of intestinal helminthiasis among the children but the association was not found to be statistically significant (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Prevalence and intensity of infection was low probably due to periodic antihelminthic treatment offered by the health authorities. Improvement in mother's level of education brought about decrease in prevalence of intestinal helminthiasis among the children. Therefore, improvement in female education should be encouraged to reduce the incidence of communicable disease in the family.

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