Prevalence and factors associated with Schistosoma Haematobium infection among School going Children of Katete District
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Background: Schistosomiasis though considered a neglected tropical disease puts 779 million people at risk of being infected while about 200 million people are infected in the world. In Zambia 2 million people are infected putting the prevalence at 16%. The prevalence and factors associated with S. haematobium infection among school going children were investigated in the schools of Kafue District in Zambia. Methods: A cross sectional study using 480 randomly selected school going children was conducted. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information so as to determine the factors associated with Schistosomiaisis. Single urine specimens were also obtained from children and screened for S. haematobium ova to determine the prevalence of Schistosomiasis Results: The prevalence of Schistosoma haematobium was 21.7% (104/480); 95% confidence interval (CI) = 18.0 – 25.4). Among the 8 schools, Soloboni had the highest prevalence of 86.7% while Hetty Denin had the lowest with 1.7%. Girls had a higher prevalence of 22.4% compared to boys at 20.9%. The age groups 6-9, 10-12 and 13-15 years had prevalence of 26.1%, 25% and 10.7% respectively. Children that played in streams were 14.5 more likely to be infected compared to children that did not play in water bodies (OR 14.5, 95% CI 3.1-68.5: p=0.001). Children that indicated painful urination as a symptom of Schistosomiasis infection reflected a 50% reduction in the risk of Schistosomiasis infection compared to those who didn’t know any symptoms (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.2-0.9; p=0.038). Children who were seen by a health worker at their school once, twice, and thrice were 5, 4, and 8 times, respectively, more likely to be infected compared to children that were never attended to by health worker (OR 5.1, 95% CI 2.1-12.2: p= 0.001; OR 3.8, 95% CI 1.3-11.1: p= 0.017; OR 7.6, 95% CI 1.7-32.9: p= 0.007, respectively). Conclusion: The prevalence of S. haematobium infection among school going children of Kafue District was high and calls for public health concern. Knowledge gap on the symptoms for Bilharzia, Play site (stream) and inadequate school health services came out as the significant factors associated with Schistosoma haematobium infection among school going children. These findings suggest that there is need for strengthening health education on S. haematobium disease, dangers of playing in the stream through consistent implementation of school health services according to guidelines.