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24M Nigerians at Risk of Parasitic Worm Disease

Ruby Leo and Judd Leonard Okafor

At least 19 states, including the FCT are endemic to parasitic worms that cause diseases, new research has found. The research suggests that council areas in these states require interventions for mostly affected children.

A mapping of 443 council areas found 359 of them required intervention against schistosomiasis, a disease caused by the parasitic worm schistosoma, while 237 council areas need intervention for soil transmitted helminths. It suggests that more than 24 million people could be at risk for schistosomiasis and another 21 million for soil-transmitted helminthes.

Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are among the most common infections worldwide and affect the poorest and most deprived communities, according to the World Health Organisation. Schistoma are transmitted in contaminated water, while STH are transmitted by eggs present in human faeces which in turn contaminate soil in areas where sanitation is poor.

Both infections were seen “among pupils who claimed to defecate in the school toilet, around the school compound and outside school environment,” researchers reported.

The mapping, using students from schools in the council areas, found worm infections were higher in males than females, but STH was more prevalent in 5-to-10-year-olds while schistosomiasis was more common in 11-to-16-year-olds. A total 34 states have been mapped so far to determine the prevalence of infections from both parasitic worms, using funding support from international donors.

Published: 09 June 2015. By Ruby Leo and Judd Leonard Okafor
Media Trust Limited (C) 2013

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