AMHSR

Relationship Between Nutritional Status and Intensity of Common Intestinal Helminths Among Children in Enugu, South‑East Nigeria

Author(s): Ilechukwu GC, Ilechukwu CGA, Ubesie AC*, Onyire NB, Emechebe G and Eze JC

Background: Intestinal helminthiasis is associated with malnutrition in children. Aim: The objective of this study was to determine the intensity and effect of the common intestinal helminths on the nutritional status of children in Enugu, Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: A cross‑sectional study of 460 children conducted in Enugu metropolis, south‑east Nigeria between August and September 2003. Their stools were analyzed at the research laboratory of the Federal Ministry of Health, National Arbovirus and Vector Research Center, Enugu. The intensity of the common intestinal helminths was determined using the standard Kato‑Katz method of fresh stool samples. The classification intensity of helminthic infestation was according to the World Health Organization classification. Data were analyzed using Statistical Software for Social Sciences version 11.0 (Chicago IL, USA). P < 0.05 was regarded as statistically significant. Results: 452 of 460 children (98.3%) had normal height for age, weight for age and weight for height Z‑scores. Six of the 460 children (1.3% were wasted), 1/460 stunted (0.2%) and 1/460 wasted and stunted (0.2%). 150 out of 460 (32.6%) studied were infected with helminths. There was no significant relationship between the intensity of helminth infection and the nutritional status of the children. Conclusion: Although the prevalence of helminthiasis in children in Enugu was high, intensity of helminthiasis in these children was mainly mild. Hence, majority of them had normal weight and height measurements for age and sex.


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