Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections and Nutritional Status in School-Aged Children in Rural and Urban Areas of Cross River State, Nigeria

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Applied Science (IJRIAS) | Volume V, Issue III, March 2020 | ISSN 2454–6186

 Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections and Nutritional Status in School-Aged Children in Rural and Urban Areas of Cross River State, Nigeria

Cletus I. Iboh⃰, Emmanuel I. Ogban, Nkanu U. Ekpe, Faustina O. Uttah
Department Of Animal And Environmental Biology, Cross River University Of Technology, P.M.B. 1123, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

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Abstract: Soil-transmitted (STHs) and their impact on the nutritional status of school-aged children in rural and urban communities are of great concern to public health. The main objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of STHs infections and nutritional status of school-aged children in rural Biase Local Government Area and urban Calabar South Local government Area of Cross River State. A total of 504 faecal samples were collected from investigated school-aged pupils and screened by Parasitological techniques to determine the presence of adult and developing stages of parasites. Out of 504 faecal samples examined, 42.8% prevalence of helminth infection was recorded among school-aged children in the study area. The varying degree of infections were Ascaris lumbricoides 30.3%, Hookworms 28.5%, Enterobius vermicularis 25.7%, Schistosoma mansoni ova 9.5% and A. lumbricoides and Hookworms 5.8%. Chi-square revealed significant difference X2 = 60.1, p < 0.001) in infection among age-group. Children anthropometric measurements were used to determine their nutritional status. A total of 24.4% malnourished children were found to be underweight, 36.5% were stunted and 20.8% showed thinness condition. It was found that body mass index (BMI) of infected pupils decreased as age increases and the calculation of Pearson correlation coefficient revealed a strong association between BMI and infection (r = 0.897). In view of these findings, the current school feeding programme sponsored by the federal government of Nigeria should be improved, by providing school-aged pupils with protein rich food to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition in children.
Keywords: Soil-transmitted, helminths, infections, nutritional status, school-aged, children, rural, urban, Cross River, Nigeria.