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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 184-189

Soil-transmitted helminthiasis: A neglected tropical disease among urban slum dwelling school-aged children of a sub-Saharan African city

1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital; Department of Paediatrics, Niger Foundation Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital; Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Mental Health Unit, NnamdiAzikiwe University, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Adaeze Chikaodinaka Ayuk
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_38_20

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Background: The need to generate a robust epidemiological data on the neglected tropical diseases is imperative, in order to encourage access to formal care, drive public policies and ensure the allocation of resources by policy-makers. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) and its association with nutritional variables among primary school pupils living in urban slums in a South-Eastern sub-Saharan African city of Enugu, Nigeria. Methods: The stool samples of school-aged children living in urban slums were analyzed for ova of the helminths using the Kato-Katz methods, whereas the nutritional assessment (weight and height) was obtained and analyzed to indicate acute or chronic malnutrition. Degrees of helminthic load were then classified. The socioeconomic status was determined while the prevalence of STH and the relationship between it and the nutritional stratus was assessed to ascertain any significance between being malnourished and having STH as this will inform policy decisions. Results: There were a total of 371 analyzed stool samples from 228 females (61.5%) and 143 males (38.5%), with 285 (76.8%) from the lowest socioeconomic class. The prevalence of STH was 18.1%, while that of acute and chronic malnutrition were 3.3% and 7.5%, respectively. The intensity of infestation was, however, light, with the highest mean egg intensity of 74.4 ± 32.8 documented for ascariasis. There was no statistically significant association between the presence of STH and various indices of acute and chronic malnutrition (P > 0.05). Conclusion: STHs prevalence is high among children living in urban slums. Nutritional status was, however, not adversely affected by helminthic infestation.

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