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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 288-293

Some behavioural risk factors for intestinal helminthiasis in nursery and primary school children in Enugu, South Eastern Nigeria


1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Awka, Nigeria
2 Institute of Child Health, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Awka, Nigeria
3 Department of Parasitology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria
4 Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
G C Ilechukwu
Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital,Enugu, Awka
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 20857787

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The objective of this study was to determine some common behavioural risk factors for intestinal helminthiasis in nursery and primary school children in Enugu. Design: A cross-sectional survey on 460 children attending nursery and primary schools in Enugu was carried out in 2003 with a view to determine some behavioural risk factors for intestinal helminthiasis. Setting: This study was carried out in the research laboratory of the Federal Ministry of Health, National Arbovirus and Vector Research Centre, Enugu. Method: Intestinal helminthiasis was diagnosed using the kato-katz method in analysing fresh stool samples collected from nursery and primary school children in Enugu. These fresh stool samples were collected into appropriately labeled clean containers. Questionnaires were administered by the researchers to obtain data from the children and their parents or guardians as regards some behavioural risk factors for intestinal helminthiasis. Results: The results from this study showed that the prevalence of intestinal helminthiasis was significantly affected by various behavioural risk factors. The rate of helminthic infection varied significantly with hand washing habits after defeacation (X 2 = 75.77; df = 2; p = 0.001) and with different habits of washing fruits before eating (X 2= 52.79; df = 2; p = 0.001) among the pupils. Also, the rate of helminthic infection varied significantly with the source of drinking water (X 2 = 55.12; df = 3; p = 0.01), water boiling habits (X 2 = 40.89; df = 2; p = 0.001), use of footwear after school hours (X 2 = 30.72; df = 2; p = 0.001). Sites utilized for defeacation by the pupils (X 2 = 80.25; df = 3; p = 0.001) also significantly influenced the rate of helminthic infection. Conclusion: Various behavioural factors which significantly affect the rate of helminthic infection abound in children living in Enugu. The government should give attention to the control of these behavioural risk factors. A lot of health education will be needed to curb the poor personal hygienic habits which are obvious risk factors for intestinal helminthiasis.


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