Impact of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminth infection among pregnant women in the Dangme East District, Greater Accra region.

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December, 2014
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Parasitic infections during pregnancy and their subsequent pathological effects such as anaemia are common in developing countries. This study determined the prevalence of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminth infections during pregnancy. A cross sectional survey was conducted on 375 pregnant women during their visits to antenatal clinic in three health centers at Sege, Anyamam, Bonikope within Dangme East District in Greater Accra from April-July, 2012. Urine specimens were prepared using the filtration method, stool specimens were prepared using formol ether concentration method whilst blood film specimens were prepared and stained with Giemsa. All prepared specimens were examined microscopically. The overall prevalence of infection with urine, stool and blood parasite was 49.6% with the following results Schistosoma haematobium (4.5%), Ascaris lumbricoides (8.5%), Schistosoma mansoni (7.5%), Trichuris trichiura (5.9%), Hookworm (4.0%), Strongyloides stercoralis (1.9%) and Taenia species (0.8%) and Plasmodium species (16.5%). More than half (66.4%) of the pregnant women who were infected were anaemic with the highest level of anaemia (37.9%) occurring within 20-29 years age group. Schistosoma haematobium, Schistosoma mansoni, hookworm and Plasmodium spp infections caused anaemia and was statistically significant (p< 0.05). However, severe anaemia (Hb < 7.0 g/dl) caused by the overall parasitic infection was not statistically significant. It was also observed that multigravids and multiparous women were more susceptibility to the negative impact of infections. The study suggests that infections with soil transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis and malaria, may contribute to anaemia in pregnant women. Therefore preventive and intensive educational vi programmes for the control of these parasites are recommended to reduce the disease burden and their accompanying pathological effects during pregnancy.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Clinical Microbiology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the Master of Philosophy degree in Clinical Microbiology.