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Geophagy, anaemia and geohelminth infection amongst non-pregnant women in vhembe District, South Africa

Author: 
A. Momoh, T. C. Davies, H. A. Akinsola, B. Iweriabor and M. B Mashao
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

This study focused on determination of haemoglobin levels in blood of female geophagists and identification of helminth ova in geophagic materials as a possible route for transmission of helminth infections amongst non-pregnant female geophagists. Sixty eight non-pregnant female geophagists, between the ages of 18 and 49 and 5 non-pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 45 (control group) were recruited for the study. Of the 68 non-pregnant female geophagists that were enrolled for the study, 9% of the women were diagnosed of severe anaemia, 35% were anaemic and 56% were normal. All the women in the control group had their haemoglobin levels within the reference range and were normal. An ovum similar to Ascaris lumbricoides ovum was detected in one of the geophagic material. Decreased haemoglobin level may be due to geophagy and poor availability of iron supplements in food. This study suggests that geophagy is associated with anaemia, but could not be a probable mode for transmission of geohelminth infections in this locality.

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