GASTRO-INTESTINAL PROTOZOANS AND HELMINTHS INFECTING CHILDREN IN DAYCARE CENTRES AND NURSERY SCHOOLS IN SABON-GARI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ZARIA, KADUNA STATE

GASTRO-INTESTINAL PROTOZOANS AND HELMINTHS INFECTING CHILDREN IN DAYCARE CENTRES AND NURSERY SCHOOLS IN SABON-GARI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ZARIA, KADUNA STATE

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ABSTRACT

Intestinal infections caused by protozoans and helminths are globally endemic and have been described as constituting the greatest worldwide cause of illness and disease, with more severe cases in children. The prevalence and risk factors of gastro-intestinal parasitic infections of protozoans and helminths in children in seventeen (17) schools (daycare and nursery sections), in Sabon-Gari Local Government Area of Zaria, Kaduna State, were investigated. The study was carried out between January and March, 2015 (dry season), and between May and July, 2015 (wet season). Questionnaires were administered and a total of 772 stool samples were collected from the children and examined for parasite cysts and eggs. The stool samples were examined using formol-ether concentration technique and data obtained were analysed using Microsoft Excel and Epi-info software packages. The overall prevalence of the protozoa plus helminths was 9.33%. The cysts of two intestinal protozoans, Balantidium coli Malmsten, 1857 (0.26%) and Entamoeba histolytica Lesh, 1873 (0.26%), and eggs of six intestinal helminths: Hookworm (4.92%); Ascaris lumbricoides Linnaeus, 1758 (3.50%); Dipylidium caninum Linnaeus, 1758 (0.52%);Diphyllobothrium latum Linnaeus, 1758 (0.39%); Strongyloides stercoralis Normand, 1876 (1.04%) and Hymenolepis nana Grassi, 1887 (0.26%) were identified. The protozoan cysts were only observed in the stool samples of nursery school children. There was a higher and statistically significant difference in prevalence of intestinal protozoans and helminths in girls (12.04%) than in boys (6.67%) (P = 0.007). Increase in age was found to be positively and significantly associated with the intestinal protozoan and helminth infections (P = 0.000695), with the lowest prevalence in children aged between 0 and 2 years (5.00% and 4.76%) and highest prevalence in the 6year-olds (12.26%).Theprevalenceof intestinal parasitic protozoanand helminth infections among children in the day care and nursery schools was associated with risk factors such as improper hand-washing, drinking of tap water, possession of domestic animals, use of pit latrines and sharing of toilets between staff and children, and the dry season (OR≥1).This study has identified that intestinal parasites are prevalent among children in day care centres and nursery schools in Sabon-Gari Local Government Area of Zaria, there is therefore the need for an intervention programme for sustainable elimination of these intestinal parasitic infections.


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