Assessment Of The Impact Of 20 Years Of Mass Drug Administration With Ivermectin On The Prevalence Of Onchocerca Volvulus And Other Soil Transmitted Helminth Infections In Children In The Pru And Atebubu Districts In Ghana

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Onchocerciasis continues to be of great public health concern and it affects more than 37 million people worldwide. It is one of the leading infectious blinding disease agents of the developing world, second only to trachoma. Mass drug administration (MDA) with ivermectin has been going on for 20 years now. This study was conducted in the Pru and Atebubu Districts in the Brong Ahafo Region to assess the prevalence of Onchocerca volvulus and intestinal parasite infection after 20 years of MDA. In all, 659 pupils from primary one up to Junior high school were involved. Twenty children per class were selected randomly in every school for snipping. From the Atebubu district, out of the 239 pupils examined from the schools, 1 pupil representing 0.42% had O. volvulus infection whiles 16 pupils representing 6.7% had intestinal helminths and 31 representing 13.0% had protozoan infection. For Pru district, out of the 420 pupils examined from the four schools, 6 representing 1.43% had O. volvulus infection whiles 25 pupils representing 6.0% had intestinal helminths and 76 representing 18.4% had protozoan infection. In general, prevalence of onchocerciasis was low while that of intestinal parasites was high in the study population. However, one village in the Pru district, Abua, had onchocerciasis prevalence of 3.4% which is higher than the accepted 2% level set by the WHO and this should be a matter for concern. In conclusion, the prevalence of intestinal protozoan and Onchocerca volvulus infections were higher in the Pru district but lower in the Atebubu district whiles intestinal helmnths infection was higher in the Atebubu district but lower in the Pru district. It is recommended that special attention should be paid to Abua in order to prevent the spread of onchocerciasis to other areas.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science (Clinical Microbiology) College of Health Science.