PREVALENCE OF SOIL TRANSMITTED HELMINTHS AND THEIR PREDISPOSING FACTORS AMONG CHILDREN 4 TO 15 YEARS ATTENDING BUEA REGIONAL HOSPITAL, SOUTHWEST REGION CAMEROON
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According to WHO 2017, statistics show that more than 1.5 billion people or 24% of the world’s population are infected with soil transmitted helminthes.
The infection is widely distributed in tropical and sub-tropical areas with the greatest occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa, America, China and East Asia.
Also over 267 million preschool aged children and 568 million school children live in areas where these parasites are intensively transmitted and are in need of prevention intervention and treatment.
This necessitated this study to be carried out to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in patients attending the Buea Regional Hospital.
This is a cross-sectional study involving 155 participants whose stool sample was microscopically examined as fresh wet mounts and formol-ether concentration technique, they were also interviewed about demographic, sanitary situation, hygiene behaviors and anthelminthic chemotherapy.
The overall prevalence of soil transmitted helminths in patients attending the Buea Regional Hospital was 16.1% with Ascaris lumbricoides, Hookworm and Trichuris trichiuria seen to be 7.7%, 7.1% and 1.3% respectively.
It was seen to be influenced by age, educational level, and poor sanitation and hygiene behaviors. Improving personal hygiene, health education is advocated as a complement to chemotherapy in the control of soil transmitted nematodes.
Background of the Study
Soil transmitted helminth (STH) are infections caused by bilaterally symmetrical worms that cause diseases to man.
These infections are caused by different species of parasitic worms such as Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiuria, Strongyloides stercoralis(Chan et al.,1997; Albonico et., WHO, 2001).
The mode of transmission of these worms is by the presence of egg in human feces which contaminates the soil in areas where sanitation is poor which could intend be picked up by humans (WHO, 2017).
Global burden of STH has been estimated to range between 4.5 million and 39 million (Kvalsvig et al.,1991).Soil Transmitted Helminths are among some of the most chronic infections distributed throughout the world mostly affecting poor population living in tropical and sub-tropical part of the world (WHO, 2014).
Global prevalence has shown that there are 1221-1472 million cases of ascariasis, 750-1060 million trichuriasis infection and 740-1300 million cases of hookworm infestation (WHO, 2017).
Although STH infection is an important parasitic disease (Tchuem et al., 2001), less interest has been attributed to it as compared to HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Increase prevalence of STH infection has become an important public health problem which could be contracted through improper sewage disposal, poor socioeconomic conditions, deficiency in sanitary facilities, poor personal hygiene, and insufficient supply of portable water, substandard housing and lack of education (Ngangnang et al., 2017).
Chronic and intense STH infection can cause malnutrition, iron deficiency anemia, physical and mental growth retardation in children (Stephenson et al.,2000; Hotez et al.,2004; Brooker et al.,2006; Nkengazong et al.,2010).
Primary current strategic control of STH infection depends on mass drug administration (MDA)provided for population at risk of the infection irrespective of their status, provision of clean water and sanitary facilities to sustain the effect of MDA (WHO,2015).
Statement of Problem
Soil transmitted helminthes infection is one of the public health problems in the developing countries irrespective of the deworming campaign put in place by the government of Cameroon.
Some of these soil transmitted helminthes also cause malnourishment due to diarrhea (heart-lung migration), Mental retardation in children, Iron deficiency, all these motivated the researcher to carry out the research.
To determine the prevalence of soil transmitted helminthes and their predisposing factors among patients attending the Buea Regional Hospital.
To determine the overall prevalence of STH among patients attending the BRH
To determine the prevalence of Soil Transmitted Helminths with respect to age
To determine the risk factors associated with soil transmitted helminthes among patients attending the BRH.