Journal of Biomedical Sciences

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Profile of a one year epidemiological study of urinary schistosomiasis in two Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Benue State, Nigeria

Robert Soumay Houmsou , Elizabeth Une Amuta

Urinary schistosomiasis is endemic in Nigeria and continues to pose public health challenges especially in inhabitants of rural areas. In an attempt to establish the prevalence of urinary schistosomiasis in relation to epidemiological factors among children in Buruku and Katsina-Ala local government areas (LGAs) of Benue State, Nigeria, 1,124 urine samples were collected from pre-school, primary and secondary school children between November 2008 and September 2009. Urine filtration technique using polycarbonate membrane filters was employed to determine presence of Schistosoma haematobium eggs in urine. Questionnaires were also administered to children to collect information on socio-demographic data and water-contact activities. An overall prevalence rate of 466(41.5%) was observed out of the 1,124 children examined. Secondary school children recorded higher prevalence rate of 45.4% than primary school children (38.6%) and pre-school children (37.1%). A statistically significant difference in prevalence was observed between the three categories of children examined (χ2= 92.8, p=0.000). Males had higher prevalence rate (48.6%) than females (37.2%), with a statistically significance difference in prevalence (χ2= 7.9, p=0.005). The age group >18 years recorded the highest prevalence rate of 48.6%, while the least prevalence rate of 37.0% was observed in the 3-7 years age groups and no significant difference was observed between the different age groups (χ2= 8.9, p=0.31). Monthly prevalences showed that the months of May 2009 and June 2009 recorded the highest prevalence rates with 49.2% and 52.7% respectively. However, no significant difference in prevalence was observed between months (χ2= 20.6, p=0.14).  With regards to educational background of the children’ parents, children whose parents have no formal education and whose parents have primary education recorded the highest prevalences of 47.0% and 43.8% respectively with a significant difference (χ2= 20.0, p=0.000). With regards to occupational background children whose parents’ occupation is farming had the highest prevalence (44.0%), while children of non-farmers had 35%. The difference observed in prevalences between occupation of the children parents was significant (χ2= 33.7, p=0.000).  With regards to water contact activities, least prevalence was observed among children that go swimming & fishing (42.8%). Children that played/bathed washed and collected edible snails from infested water bodies (ponds and streams) had the highest prevalence rates of 87.1%, 86.1% and 74.7% respectively. Such children especially those who played/bathed and collected fresh water snails had higher risks of infection with urinary schistosomiasis in the area (odd ratio (OR) of 2.16 and 2.00 respectively and confidence interval (C.I) of 1.51-3.10 and 1.45-2.76 respectively at p<0.000 level). The study draws attention to the health hazards posed by urinary schistosomiasis among children in Buruku and Katsina-Ala LGAs of Benue State. The urgent need for a decisive control intervention to stem this problem cannot be overemphasized.