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Schistosomiasis mansoni and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in Bushulo village, southern Ethiopia

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Background: Schistosomiasis mansoni and soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STHs) are considerable medical and public health problems in Ethiopia. However, information is limited on the epidemiology of these infections in different localities even though it is needed to plan effective prevention and control measures. Objective: This study was designed to determine the prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni and soil-transmitted helminth infections in school children and residents in Bushulo village near Lake Awassa (Hawassa), southern Ethiopia. Methods: Cross-sectional epidemiological and parasitological studies were conducted on schistosomiasis mansoni and STHs in Bushulo village in May and June 2007. A total of 419 participants (353 school children and 66 other residents) were included in the study. The principal investigator interviewed the study subjects about demographic status using structured questionnaires. Moreover, experienced nurse took history and conducted physical examination to assess symptoms and signs related to chronic S. mansoni infection. A single stool sample was collected from each participant and processed using the Kato-Katz technique. Experienced laboratory technician read all slides at Bushulo Health Center. Results: The overall infection rates of schistosomiasis mansoni, trichuriasis, ascariasis and hookworm infection were 73.7%, 41.5%, 37.2% and 28.4%, respectively. Other parasitic infections observed were caused by Hymenolepis nana (1.7%), Taenia species (1.4%), and Enterobius vermicularis (1.4%). Children in the age range 10-14 years and those attending at St. Paul’s School had higher rates of T. trichiura and S. mansoni, respectively. Intensity of infection was higher for A. lumbricoides in the age range 5-9 years. The overall prevalence of any STHs was 67.3%. The rates of single, dual, triple and quadruple infections were 29.6%, 32%, 20.3% and 7.4%, respectively. Conclusion: The high prevalence and intensity of schistosomiasis mansoni and soil-transmitted helminthiasis makes periodic deworming programme urgent to reduce morbidity and transmission of helminthiasis in the area. Provisions of sanitary facilities and clean water supply as well as health education are also critically needed to sustain the impact of chemotherapy.

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