School age children are one of the groups at high risk for intestinal parasitic infections especially in developing countries like Ethiopia as the supply of good quality drinking water and latrine coverage are poor. Though there are previous data on the prevalence of soil transmitted helminths (STHs) and Schistosoma mansoni infection among these high risk groups current status in the study area is unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the current prevalence and associated risk factors of STHs and S. mansoni infections among school children.
A cross-sectional study was carried out in Gorgora and Chuahit towns, North Gondar Zone, North West Ethiopia from January 20 to February 25, 2012 involving 261 school children. A pre-tested and structured questionnaire was used to collect socio-demographic data and possible risk factors. Stool samples were collected and examined for intestinal parasites using Kato Katz method. Chi-square test was used to see if there is association between sociodemographic factors and other risk factors for STH and S. mansoni infection and odds ratio with 95% CI was computed as measures of association. P < 0.05 was taken as statistically significant.
Out of the 261 study participants, 174 (66.7%) were infected with one or more species of intestinal parasites. Ascaris lumbricoides was the predominant isolates (39.8%) followed by Trichuris trichiura (6.1%) and Hookworms (4.9%). Schistosoma mansoni was detected in 33.7% of the children. Among infected individuals, 9.5% were coinfected by S. mansoni and A. lumbricoides and 1.5% with S. mansoni and T. trichiura. Swimming habit (OR: 2.536, 95% CI: 1.122, 5.737, P = 0.022) was significantly associated with S. mansoni infection.
The prevalence of STH and S. mansoni was high among school children. This should call for implementation of an integrated strategy to reduce morbidity and control of transmission of STH and S. mansoni.