A Comparative Study of Intestinal Parasitic Infection and Associated Risk Factors among Primary School Children in Six Neighbouring Communities in Kumasi, Ghana: Ayigya, Kentinkrono, Aboabo, Manhyia, Gyinyase and Kyirapatre

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Intestinal parasitic infection remains one of the conditions that have serious consequences on child health development especially in developing countries. The aim of this study was to compare the intestinal parasitic infections and associated risk factors among primary school children (5-12 years) within the Kumasi metropolitan area. A cross sectional survey was conducted in six communities (Ayigya, Kentinkrono, Aboabo, Manhyia, Gyinyase and Kyirapatre). Fresh stool samples were obtained from primary school children within these communities from January to September, 2011. The stool samples were analysed using direct wet mount preparation and formol ether concentration methods for identification of protozoan trophozoites and cysts, helminth ova and larva. Modified Kinyoun staining method was performed on a smear prepared from the fresh stool samples for the identification of oocysts of Cryptosporidium parvum. Out of 2400 questionnaires administered, 1162 (48.42%) were administered to males and 1238 (51.58%) to females. The overall intestinal parasitic infections rate recorded in the present study was 49.18%. A total of 8.20% of the primary school children were infected with more than one intestinal parasite. Of the overall prevalence rate of intestinal parasitic infections 12.17% had Giardia lamblia, 0.21% had Entamoeba histolytica, 8.50% had Cryptosporidium parvum, 10.33% had Entamoeba coli, 7.04% had Endolimax nana, 3.17% had Chilomastix mesnili, 1.46% had Iodamoeba butschlii, 1.54% had Hookworm, 3.88% had Ascaris lumbricoides and 0.88% had Strongyloides stercolaris were recorded among children sampled in the six communities. G. lamblia (12.17%) and A. lumbricoides (3.88%) infections were the predominant intestinal protozoan and helminth parasites respectively. The pathogenic protozoa (especially Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum) and helminths (Hookworm and Ascaris lumbricoides) recorded among the studied children in the present study areas were statistically significant (p < 0.05) to risk factors such as gender, age, poor environmental sanitation, improper personal hygiene practices, and socioeconomic activities (especially studied children whose parents are farmers and unemployed). Primary school children from Kentinkrono recorded the highest of all intestinal parasitic infections (74.75%) in the present study. Males (65.66%) recorded the highest of intestinal parasitic infections than females (34.34%) among the studied population. The age groups most affected were 5-6years, followed by 7-8years, 9-10years and 11-12years among the studied children in all the communities. The age groups most affected are 5-6years, followed by 7-8years, 9-10years and 11-12years among the studied children in all the communities. The Questionnaire assessment revealed that studied children who lack sanitary facilities, lack of knowledge of personal hygiene practices, lack of access to good drinking water, buy food from food vendors around their school compounds and those whose parents were farmers and unemployed in the six communities were most infested with intestinal parasitic infections.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Clinical Microbiology, September-2012