O CN, E CI, C C, O EN, O VM
intestinal parasites, patients., prevalence
O CN, E CI, C C, O EN, O VM. High Prevalence Of Intestinal Parasites In A Nigerian Tertiary Health Institution. The Internet Journal of Parasitic Diseases. 2009 Volume 4 Number 2.
Human intestinal parasites are parasites that populate the gastro-intestinal tract of humans. It has become a major health problem in many developing countries8,24,28. There are two main types of intestinal parasites: helminths and protozoa. In their adult form, helminths cannot multiply in the human body. Protozoa, however have only one cell, and can multiply inside the human body, which contributes to their survival and enables serious infections to develop. Sometimes two or more can cause infection at the same time, a concept known as polyparasitism.6,7,8,24 Intestinal helminths are distributed worldwide, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. More than one billion of the world’s population including at least 400 million school children are chronically infected with
Materials and Method
The study was undertaken in the Accident and Emergency Unit of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital(NAUTH) Nnewi Anambra State South East Nigeria. The hospital is the only tertiary health care provider for Nnewi community and its environs. South Eastern Nigeria has a tropical continental climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The average relative humidity is about 80% reaching 90% during rains. The inhabitants are diverse in occupation ranging from the elite (doctors, engineers etc) to traders and artisans. Rain water stored in tanks and boreholes are their source of drinking water and stream and free flowing water common among the surrounding communities.
The subjects were patients presenting at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Teaching Hospital which is the only section of the hospital that is forever on-duty attending to patients even during holidays when other units are off duty. The consent of the patients were sought and obtained after they were briefed on the importance and significance of the study by the researchers. The unit is open to all accident and emergency cases irrespective of the age and sex.
Collection of sample
Each patient were given a clean, dry, well labelled specimen container with which the faecal samples were transported to the Parasitology Laboratory of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State for processing. They were instructed to collect stool specimen using the convenience in the ward and digital rectal examination (DRE) was done during medical examination for the unconscious patients in order to collect their fecal samples. In the course of the study, there were two unidentified road accident victims brought by the men of Federal Road Safety Commission and Good Samaritan. There was nobody to provide information for the questionnaire. Of the 500 patients issued a specimen container during the study period, 492 returned their stool specimen for examination between December 2008 to May 2009. A questionnaire was administered to each patient from whom personal information on age, sex, and occupation was derived.
In the laboratory, each sample was first examined for its consistency, colour, and presence of blood, mucous, adult worms, proglottids of tapeworms, with an applicator stick. Saline and iodine wet mount, concentrated saturated sodium chloride floatation and formol-ether concentration techniques were used according to Chessbrough32 and WHO33 were used for the microscopic examination of each stool sample. Antigen testing was not performed; therefore the differentiation of
Data accruing from the study were analyzed using Social Sciences (SPSS) Statistical Package (Version 11.0). Cross-tabulations were generated and
Out of a total of 492 subjects examined, 190 (38.62%) were infected with one or more of the intestinal parasites. Age distribution of the prevalence of infection did not show a definite pattern but infection rate was highest among the subjects in the first decade of life (56.3% ) and least among the subjects aged 60 years and above (30.0%) (Table 1). This observed difference in prevalence by age was not statistically significant (p>0.05). Despite the fact that the subjects examined were not diarrheal patients and do not manifest major symptoms of intestinal parasitic infection, infection rate was relatively high in the population.
Table 2 indicated that males showed a higher prevalence of intestinal parasite infections (40.31%) than the females (36.58%). However, this is not statistically significant (p>0.05).
In Table 3, Occupational prevalence showed that infection rate was highest among the farmers (60.94%), followed by the pupils and pre-school children (59.09%) while the civil servants showed the least prevalence (30.17%) of infection with intestinal parasites. Difference in occupational prevalence was found to be statistically significant (p<0.05). Two infected patients whose detailed information could not be obtained were also accounted for in disease distribution by epidemiological factors.
Distribution of intestinal parasite infections based on their major sources of drinking water showed that subjects who depend on the streams as their major source of drinking water recorded the highest level of prevalence, followed by those that drink well water while the subjects that depend on pipe-borne water and sachet water as major sources of drinking water recorded the least prevalence of intestinal parasite infections. This difference was statistically significant (p<0.05).
This study found that the overall prevalence of intestinal parasite infection was highest between the ages <10 to 39 years, even though the observed difference in prevalence by age was not statistically significant. This study contradicts the work of Oguoma
Despite the fact that the subjects examined were not diarrheal patients and do not manifest major symptoms of intestinal parasitic infection, infection rate was relatively high in the population. This concurs with the study by Oguoma
This work also showed that the males had a higher prevalence of intestinal parasite infections than the females. This may be due to the common feeding pattern in which a great number of men eat outside their homes while on daily activities to earn a living. Prevalence is not dependent on sex among the sampled population which disagrees with the work of Atu
Occupational prevalence showed that infection rate was highest among the farmers (61.0%). This could possibly be due to the unhealthy practices of walking bare footed while farming and the rampant defecation in the farm lands, followed by the pupils and pre-school children (59.1%) while the civil servants showed the least prevalence (30.2%) of infection with intestinal parasites . Difference in occupational prevalence was found to be statistically significant (p<0.05).
Two infected patients whose detailed information could not be obtained were also accounted for in disease distribution by epidemiological factors.
The rural residents recorded the highest prevalence of infection (43.0%), followed by the semi-urban residents (37.5%) while those from the urban settings recorded the least prevalence of infection (36.4%) The explanation could be because of poor knowledge on health education practices on preventable diseases and cultural farming practices. By their educational status, there was an association between prevalence of infection and level of education. Chronological pattern in the prevalence of infection, ranging from the non-educated who recorded the highest prevalence of infection(45.2%), to the subjects that attained the tertiary level of education who recorded the least prevalence of infections (34.9%) . However, these differences were not statistically significant (p>0.05).
The study also revealed that subjects who depend on the streams as their major source of drinking water recorded the highest level of prevalence(44.8%), followed by those that drink well water (41.3%) while the subjects that depend on pipe-borne water (15.6%) and sachet water (15.4%) as major sources of drinking water recorded the least prevalence of intestinal parasite infections. This difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). This could be due to due natural use of local streams for different purposes with the antecedent contamination coupled with poor hygiene practices common amongst the people.
Also observed in the study was the significant prevalence level of parasitaemia amongst those who indulge in the habit of eating raw vegetables (76.7%), habit of neglecting to wash their hands after handling stools(44.9%), walking bare footed(65.4%), swimming in water(47.0%), and lack of intermittent de-worming(43.4%).
What is needed is to adopt drug treatment for those already infected similar to the National Immunization Program to alleviate the sufferings of the already infected population, and prevent the parasites they harbor from passing into the environment and infecting others. Sanitary improvements such as safe, efficient and hygienic management of water (from extraction, through transport and storage, to use, particularly for drinking); safe, efficient and hygienic disposal of feces as identified by Oguoma
Estimates of these parasitic diseases thus become a matter of necessity for the surveillance of public health, proper health-care delivery and people’s welfare. These findings will generate some scientific interest amongst clinicians and scientist, so that the much needed study will focus more on the epidemiology of these neglected intestinal parasites, and will be compared with the prognosis of the patients.