Prevalence and Intensity of Intestinal Parasites in School age Children in Thika District, Kenya
Kihara, Jimmy H
Gicheru, Michael M
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The study was conducted in four public primary schools namely, Athena (peri-urban), Kathambara (rural), Kianjau (slum) and St.Patrick (urban); in Thika district, Kenya. Overall prevalence of helminthic infections was 38.9%, 48.9%, 48.9% and 31% for Peri-urban, rural, slum, and urban school respectively. Overall prevalence of protozoan infections was 46.3%, 38.9%, 34.8% and 28.7% for Peri- urban, rural, slum and urban schools respectively. The common infections were Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, Trichiuris trichiura and Schistosoma mansoni. Ascaris lumbricoides infection was significantly higher in slum and rural than in peri-urban and urban schools (χ²=14.425, df=3, p<0.05). Hookworm infection was significantly higher in the rural and peri-urban schools than in urban and slum schools (χ²=15.268, df=3, p<0.01). Entamoeba histolytica was significantly higher in rural and slum schools than in peri-urban and urban schools. (χ²=9.29, df=3, p<0.05). There were 10 cases of Schistosoma mansoni probably acquired from Mwea irrigation scheme since there is no active transmission in Thika District. In this study, there is clear indication that worms and protozoa infections are a problem in urban, slums, peri-urban and rural schools in Thika district. It is therefore our recommendation that schools in this area be included in mass school based deworming programmes. We further suggest that school children be considered for treatment of protozoa especially Entamoeba histolytica which can contribute significantly to diarrhea and intestinal discomfort.