Translational Biomedicine

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Association between Nutritional Status and Soil-Transmitted Helminthes Re-Infection among School-Age Children in Chencha District, Southern Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Zerdo Z, Yohanes T, Tariku B and Teshome T

Background: Soil-transmitted helminthes infection and malnutrition are the major health threat of school-age children (SAC) in developing countries. Schoolbased mass-drug administration (MDA) is cost efficient and effective strategy in reducing the worm load of the parasites but re-infection is the main problem of this strategy. There is scarce data on the association of nutritional status of SAC and STH re-infection. Therefore, the present study was aimed at assessing the association of nutritional status and STH re-infection among SAC in Chencha district from April 20 to May 5, 2015.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to recruit 406 SAC from 10 randomly selected kebeles from the district. Structured questionnaire was used to collect background characteristics of SAC while Kato-Katz thick smear technique was used to quantify number of STH eggs per gram of stool specimen. Pearson chi square and logistic regressions were used to assess association between STH reinfection and nutritional status of SAC.

Results and findings: The overall prevalence of malnutrition, stunting and underweight among SAC were 12.3% (95%CI=9.7% to 16.5%), 8.9% (95%CI 6.3% to 12.1%) and 4.2% (95%CI 2.5% to 6.6%) respectively. STH re-infection among stunted children was 25% (n=9) while it was 37.7% (n=139) among non-stunted children. However, this difference was not statistically significant with p-value equal to 0.132. In similar, the prevalence of STH re-infection among underweighted SAC was 52.9% (n=9) but it was by 7.1% lower among non-wasted children though it was not statistically not significant (P=0.151).

Conclusions: we found low prevalence of malnutrition among SAC in Chencha district. In addition, malnutrition was not associated with STH re-infection among such population. Further prospective studies with long duration of follow-up shall be conducted in other parts in order to give more strong information about the association.