STUDIES ON URINARY PHENOL LEVELS IN SCHISTOSOMA HAEMATOBIUM INFECTED INDIVIDUALS IN ABAKALIKI, EBONYI STATE AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO DISEASE SEVERITY.
This study was carried out to determine urinary phenol levels of individuals with Schistosoma haematobium infection and the possible relationship with parasite egg output and intensity of infection. An initial base line study was done to establish the prevalence and intensity of Schistosoma haematobium infection in some communities of Ebonyi state using the filtration quantitative technique. Primary school children were used as tracers. Urinary phenol was measured using the Folin-Ciocalteau method. Using Gallic Acid (GA) as standard, total phenolic content was expressed as mgGAE/100g. Data reported was from three replications. Analyis of variance was used to test the differences in urinary phenol levels between the various intensities of infection and the uninfected which was found to be significant at 0.05. Correlation and Regression were used to establish a possible relationship between the urinary phenol levels anrd the intensity of infection which showed significance between the moderate (++) and the high (+++) intensities of infection at 0.05. Close-ended questionnaires were used to assess the dietary habits of the children as a possible contributor to the variable urinary phenol levels. In Abakaliki urban, out of the 800 pupils examined from Assemblies of God Nursery and Primary School and Evangel Nursery and Primary School in Okpaugwu and Ezza road areas respectively, 182 (29.5%) and 160 (40.0%) were infected with S. haematobium respectively.. There was a gradual increase in the disease prevalence with increasing age of the study subjects. About 90% of the infected persons were aged 8 – 14 years. Statistical analysis revealed that the prevalence, intensity and visible haematuria were significantly higher (P > 0.05) in subjects between the age 8 and 14 years than subject below 8 years of age. Among the infected population, 168 (46.2%) and 196 (53.8%) were excreting 50 eggs/10ml urine and above 50 eggs/10ml urine respectively. Also from Umuoghara, 812 pupils were examined as follows: Uwaoma Primary school, 286; Unity Primary School, 267 and Community Primary School 259. 124 (43.35%); 117 (43.82%) and 134 (51.74%) were infected respectively. Out of the 518 males and 294 females examined, 249 (48.06%) and 126 (42.85%) had the infection respectively. The higher prevalence among the male pupils than females does not show any significant difference in the statistical analysis (P < 0.05). 90 samples were also analyzed from each of the following schools with the prevalence rates as shown: Community School, Umuezeali, 44 (48.9%); Community School, Okposi, 17 (18.9%); Community School,Ogharugo, 25 (27.8%): Community School, Omege 60 (66.7%); and U.P.E School, Izzi-Imoha 6 (6.7%). Males were also more infected than females. The significance of the differences between the variable excretory levels of urinary phenol and the intensities of infection was established. There was also established, a relationship between the urinary phenol levels and the intensity of infection which can be used to predict schistosomiasis.