PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM AND GASTROINTESTINAL HELMINTH CO-INFECTION AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN UZO-UWANI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, ENUGU STATE
This study determined the Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) and gastrointestinal helminths co-infection among school children in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State. Blood and stool samples were collected from 218 school children of ages 7 -18 years, from four randomly selected communities in the study area. Stool samples were processed using formol-ether concentration techniques and P. falciparum was confirmed using the antigen rapid diagnostic test kit. Haemoglobin concentration was determined using a portable heamoglobin spectrophotometer, haemocue 201 analyzer and values were assessed using WHO standard for anaemia. The overall prevalence of P. falciparum was (16.5%). Four species of gastrointestinal helminths were recovered from the stool samples and these were hookworm (22.9%), Taenia species (25.2%), Strongyloides stercoralis (1.4%) and Ascaris lumbricoides (29.8%). There was no significant (p > 0.05) difference in the prevalence of infections. The prevalence of P. falciparum and helminth co-infection in the study was 20 (9.2%). The co-infections were P. falciparum and Hookworm (3.7%), P. falciparum and Taenia species (1.4%), P. falciparum and Strongyloides stercoralis (1.4%), P. falciparum and Ascaris lumbricoides (5.5%), P. falciparum, Hookworm and Taenia species (0.5%) rand P. falciparum, Hookworm and S. stercoralis (0.5%). There was significant (p < 0.05) difference in the occurrence of co-infection among subjects. Among communities sampled, only P. falciparum and Taenia species co-infection varied significantly (p < 0.05). Single and co-infection prevalence of the parasitic infections were not significant (p > 0.05) among the age groups. Among the genders, the prevalence of P. falciparum infection was equal (16.5%) in both sexes. The overall co-infection prevalence was higher in males (19.3%) than females (7.4%). Both single and co-infection prevalence of the parasitic infections varied not significantly (p > 0.05) between genders. There were no significant (p > 0.05) differences among the drug users and non users and presence of gutters/stagnant waters around the houses. Those using water system had no intestinal helminths infections. Prevalence of intestinal helminths infections varied significantly (p < 0.05) based on the type of latrine systems used and few children deworm themselves. Anaemia was significantly associated to P. falciparum and Hookworm (p < 0.05). Anaemia was frequent (30.5%) in those infected with Ascaris lumbricoides but not statistically significant. These findings suggest that P. falciparum and helminths co-infections are common in school children in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.