The effect of intestinal schistosomiasis on the haemoglobin levels in primary school children in Makueni District - Kenya
Background:Chronic morbidity is one of the major impacts of schistosomiasis in Kenya. Anaemia in children and women of childbearing age is mainly attributed to malaria, nutrition-status and other helminthes worms there-fore anaemia identified in primary care settings is rarely attributed to schistosomiasis and prevalence of anaemia due to schistosome infectionin high prevalence areas like Kibwezi division of Makueni district is not known. Objectives Theobjective of the study was to determine the effect of intestinal schistosomiasis on the haemoglobinlevels in children Methods Thepotential relationship between schistosome infection and the haemoglobin levels was examinedin an analytical cross-sectional study using a simple questionnaire. Stool and blood samples were obtained from a total of 380 primary school children who had assentedto the study. Dataobtained from the laboratory examination of the samples and the questionnaire was enteredusing Microsoft Access and analyzed using Intercooled Stata 9.2. Results Theoverall prevalence of intestinal schistosomiasis for all the children examined in both schools was 41.3% (95%, CI 36.3%-46.3%), the geometric mean was 82epg and the mean egg count was 230epg. The maximum observed egg count was 2580 epg at Miangeni primary school. An epg of 2400 was observed at Iviani primary school. The mean haemoglobin level of the infected children was 12.77g/dl as compared to the 12.88g/dl of the un-infected children. The difference in mean haemoglobin levels between the infected and uninfected was not statistically significant at (P=0.3931). The prevalence of anaemia among school children was 25.7% with the highest prevalence being within the age group of 12-14 years. Conclusion In conclusion, the study revealed that children who are infected with intestinal schistosomiasis are not likely to be more anaemic than the un-infected children since there is no significant difference between the haemoglobin levels of the two groups being compared.