Wuchereria Bancrofti Antigenaemia Among School Children: A Case Study of Four Communities in the Kassena-Nankana East District of the Upper East Region of Ghana

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INTRODUCTION: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a parasitic disease of public health concern in Northern Ghana. Since mass drug administration of ivermectin and albendazole began in 2000 with Kassena-Nankana district as one of the implementing units, no studies has been conducted among pre-school and school-age children on the prevalence of W. bancrofti antigenaemia in spite of 3.5% prevalence reported among adults in 2008. This study was therefore carried out in four communities in the Kassena-Nankana district between December 2010 and May 2012 where mass drug administration has been administrated and continued to be administrated to investigate the prevalence of W. bancrofti antigenaemia among school children to aid advocacy for more comprehensive treatment coverage for children. The study was a cross sectional analytical survey, restricted to school children between the ages of 2-10 years. Four hundred (400) school children aged 2-10 years were randomly selected from a list of compounds in the communities. About 3-5 mls of blood was collected into heparinised test tube and tested using immunochromatographic test to detect W. bancrofti antigen ( ICT-Filariasis card test). Of the 200 children tested before MDA, 25(12.5%) children tested positive for filarial antigen and of the 200 school children tested after MDA, 13(6.5%) children tested positive for circulating filarial W. bancrofti antigen. The microfilaria antigen prevalence among the communities after MDA ranged from 0% in Bui to 4.0% in Manyoro and 22% in Gumongo. This study has demonstrated that community variations in the prevalence of filarial antigen exists in Kassen-Nankana district. There is the need for regular surveillance that will inform treatment coverage and effectiveness.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science degree in Master of Philosophy, June-2014