Prevalence and associated factors for intestinal parasitic infections among primary school children in Karenga Subcounty, Kaabong District
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Background: Intestinal parasitic infections caused by helminths and protozoa are responsible for considerable morbidity throughout world. We did not know the burden of parasite infections in Karenga Sub county, Kaabong District in Karamoja Sub region of Uganda. Therefore, this study determined the prevalence and associated factors for intestinal parasitic infections among primary school children in Karenga Sub county. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted from March to July 2019. The study involved 500 primary school children aged 5 – 15 years from Karenga Sub county, Kaabong District. Stool was collected from school children. Direct wet mount in normal saline/iodine was performed on unconcentrated stool. The rest of stool samples were fixed in 10% formalin and processed in formol ether before performing a wet mount in normal saline, iodine, and modified ZN staining. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on associated factors. Results: Overall, 45% of the 500 school children aged 5- 15 years who participated in this study had one or more parasitic infections. Based on direct wet mount on unprocessed stool, 66 (13.2%) children were infected with intestinal parasites. Based on microscopy after formol ether concentration, 170 (34.0%) children were infected with intestinal parasites. The overall prevalence of intestinal parasite species was 48%. Single parasitic infection was 42.0% while double parasite infection was 6.0%. The most common protozoa was Entamoeba coli 107 (21.4%) followed by Giardia lamblia93(18.6%). The most common helminth was Hymenolepsis nana 16 (0.6%). The prevalence of parasitic infection was mainly associated with eating of raw vegetables, playing in water collection points after rain, eating unwashed fruits and drinking surface water. Conclusion: Close to half of the primary school children aged 5 – 15 years from Karenga Sub county, Kaabong District, Karamoja Sub region are infected with one or more intestinal parasites. Fixation and concentration of stool before microscopy increased detection of parasites from 13% to 34%. Eating of raw vegetables had the highest association with parasitic infection.