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Current Status of Intestinal Parasites and Associated Risk Factors among Schoolchildren of Homesha District in Northwest Ethiopia

Author: 
Gebremichael Gebretsadik Weidengus
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Intestinal parasitic infection is one of the major and serious medical and public health problems in developing countries including Ethiopia. Children being major victims, therefore effective prevention and control of intestinal parasitic infections require the identification of local risk factors, particularly among school children. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections and associated risk factors among Homesha District school children, Northwest Ethiopia. Method: School based cross sectional study was conducted from March-June 2015.A total of 395 school children as study subjects were selected from four primary schools by using simple random sampling technique. Data were gathered through direct interview by using a pretested questionnaire. This data collection technique involve teachers to get correct answer in the case of lower age students. The collected stool specimens were examined microscopically for the presence of eggs, cysts and trophozoites of intestinal parasites using direct saline smear and formol-ether concentration methods. Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS version 20.Chi-square (χ2) test and crude odd ratio were calculated to verify and measure the possible association between IPIs and potential risk factors. Result: The overall prevalence of intestinal parasite in the present study was 160/395 (35.44 %), for at least one intestinal parasite. The prevalence rate was 66 (31.88%) for male and 74 (39.36%) for female. The prevalence of intestinal parasites was high in age group of 6-9 years compared to other age groups. Of the nine species of intestinal parasites identified, the most prevalent were E. histolytica/dispar 56 (14.17%) followed by G. lamblia 50 (12.65%) and Hook worm 27 (10.12%).In this study the most significantly associated risk factors for the occurrence of intestinal parasitic infections were hand washing habit, eating unwashed/undercooked vegetables, waste disposal habit, shoe wearing habit and practice of figure nail trimming (P<0.05). The risk factors were also associated with increased prevalence. Conclusion: Intestinal parasites were prevalent in varying magnitude among the schoolchildren. And they are public health problem. The prevalence of infections were higher for protozoa compared to helminths. Therefore, the District health office in collaboration with schools community and other stake holders should work to take measures including education on personal hygiene and environmental sanitation to reduce the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections.

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