Endemicity of human oesophagostomiasis in the North Eastern Parts of the Northern Region, Ghana

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Hookworm disease is the most widespread of intestinal helminth infections in Northern Ghana. However, in the border area between North-eastern Ghana and Northern logo the hookworm situation is complicated by the presence of a wide range of strongylid and rhabditid species of gut dwelling nematodes which all have hookworm-like eggs. There are reports of human infection with Oesophagostomum species which are normally strongylid nematode parasites of monkeys, pigs and ruminants in these parts of the world. The present study, therefore, sought to determine the distribution and endemicity of human oesophagostomiasis and its relationship to hookworm infection in the North-eastern parts of the Northern Region of Ghana. Seventy-six villages covering four districts (East and West Mamprusi, Gushiegu/Karaga, and Saboba/Chereponi) in the North-eastern parts of the Northern region of Ghana were randomly selected using EPI 6 and atlas GIS. A sample human population size of 100 (one hundred) was taken in each village with males and females, children and adults equally represented A coproculture of individual stool samples was run and infective L3 larvae harvested after one week for identification Prevalence of oesophagostomiasis ranged between 0 and 66% Thirty-four (43 6%) of the villages were endemic Areas of high endemicity coincided with areas of high levels of hookworm infection and showed high human-animal contact, coupled with compound livestock farming and indiscriminate defaecation The highest foci for both Oesophagostomum and hookworm infections occurred towards the border area with logo (between Lat 10020’ and 100 40’ North) and decreased with longitude from 00 20’ East to 00 40’ West. Hookworm infections were, present in every community and of much higher values than those of the other helminths (prevalence range of 3 to 96%). Strongyloides infections were also common in the study area, occurring in almost all communities where hookworm infections were present, but were of lower prevalence than hookworm. Strongyloides prevalences (prevalence range of 0 to 87%) were generally higher than those for oesophagostomiasis. Females showed higher prevalence of oesophagostomiasis than males whereas the reverse was true for hookworm and Strongyloides infections.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy, 1999