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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 217-223

Intestinal helminthic infection among children with sickle cell anaemia in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State: Prevalence and predictors for its development

1 Department of Paediatrics, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
3 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria/Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
4 Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Uzoamaka V Muoneke
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria/Teaching Hospital, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJM.NJM_16_20

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Background: The sickle-cell gene is widespread in Africa and anemia, a common finding in sickle cell anemia (SCA) may occasionally result from other nonhemolytic causes such as helminthic infestations. The study is aimed at demonstrating the prevalence of intestinal helminths, risk factors of intestinal helminthic infection, and the hemoglobin level of infected children with SCA in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Subjects and Methods: This is a hospital-based cross-sectional study conducted between August and October 2018 involving 120 children aged 2–18 years with SCA. Risk factors for intestinal helminthic infections were assessed using a structured questionnaire. Stool was analyzed using the Kato-Katz method while the hemoglobin level was analyzed using an automated machine. Results: Among the recruited children, 55.8% were male within the age range 2–18 years with a mean age of 8.6 (±4.6 standard deviation [SD]) years and 9.1 (±3.9 SD) years for the boys and the girls, respectively. Eleven stool samples contained intestinal helminths. Lack of/poor handwashing before eating (P = 0.003) and after defecating (P < 0.001) were some of the predictors of having intestinal helminths, while sociodemographic factors such as Socioeconomic status (P < 0.001), level of education (P = 0.015), position of child in the family birth order (P = 0.028) and residence (P < 0.001) were all statistically significant to the development of intestinal helminths in the study children. The median hemoglobin of subjects who were infected with intestinal helminths was 6.5 g/dl compared to 7.9 g/dl in noninfected subjects (P = 0.010). Conclusions: Although the prevalence of intestinal helminthic infection among SCA patients in Ebonyi State is low, it has been linked to a number of risk factors and associated with lower hemoglobin levels among infected subjects.

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