A study of the prevalence, intensity and risk factors of geohelminth infections was investigated among preschool children aged 1-5 years old in Ibilo, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. Two hundred and ninety eight children (94.30%) out of 316 volunteers examined were infected with one or more geohelminth parasites. The predominant geohelminth was Ascaris lumbricoides (85.7%, 104.4 epg), followed by hookworm (65.7%, 172.2 epg) and Trichuiris trichuira (2.9%, 305 epg). The difference in the prevalence of infection of the geohelminths among the preschool children was statistically significant (F=6.708, p <0.05). Infection rate of A. lumbricoides and hookworm (35.6%) was more than for either Ascaris and Trichuris (2.7%) or Hookworm and Trichuris (6.0%). The infection rate of multiple parasites of A. lumbricoides, hookworm and Trichuris was 3.4%. The difference in the mean pre treatment parasite load (369.8 epg) and post treatment parasite load (17 epg) was statistically signi-ficant (χ2 =13.92, p < 0.05). The mean difference between children who were anaemic pre treatment (7.9 g/dL) and the improvement of the haemoglobin profile post treatment (10.5 g/dL) was not statistically significant (t=2.65, p > 0.05). Of the three anthelmintic drugs administered, namely, Albendazole, Mebendazole andPyrantel pamoate, children treated with Pyrantel pamoate had the lowest parasitic load post treatment and highest cure rate. Places of defecation such as pit latrines, bushes and water closets as well as mothers’/caregivers’ occupation have been identified as potential risk factors contributing to the high infection rates of helminth parasites among preschool age children studied.
Key words: Geohelminthiasis, preschool age, children, albendazole, mebendazole, Pyrantel pamoate, haemoglobin, risk factors, Nigeria.
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