Effect of anthelminthic treatment on helminth infection and related anaemia among school-age children in northwestern Ethiopia.BMC Infect Dis. 2016 10 28; 16(1):613.BI
Information about improvements in the health status of population at-risk of helminth infection after anthelminthic treatment helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the large scale deworming program. The objectives of this study were to assess the impact of anthelminthic treatment on the prevalence and intensity of intestinal helminth infection, haemoglobin level and prevalence of anaemia among school-age children.
A total of 403 children attending Tikur Wuha Elementary School in Jiga, northwestern Ethiopia were enrolled in this study between February and March 2011. Formol-ether concentration and Kato-Katz methods were used to examine stool for intestinal helminth infections at baseline and one month after anthelminthic treatment. Haemoglobin level was measured using Hemocue machine at baseline and one month after anthelminthic treatment.
Out of 403 school children examined, 15.4 % were anaemic and 58.3 % were infected with intestinal helminths at baseline. Hookworms (46.9 %), Schistosoma mansoni (24.6 %), Ascaris lumbricoides (4.2 %) and Trichuris trichiura (1.7 %) infections were common. The odds of anaemia was higher among children infected with helminths (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.83, 95 % CI = 1.92, 7.62) especially in those infected with hookworm (aOR = 2.42, 95 % CI = 1.34, 4.39) or S. mansoni (aOR = 2.67, 95 % CI = 1.46, 4.88) and two or more helminth species (aOR = 7.31, 95 % CI = 3.27, 16.35) than those uninfected with intestinal helminths at baseline. Significant reduction in prevalence of helminth infection (77.0 %) and increment in mean haemoglobin level (+3.65 g/l) of children infected with helminths was observed one month after anthelminthic treatment. The increase in haemoglobin level after anthelminthic treatment was significantly positively associated with the age, but negatively associated with the haemoglobin level at baseline. The change in mean haemoglobin level was significantly higher among undernourished than normal children. Percent reduction in the prevalence of anaemia among children infected with helminths was 25.4 % after anthelminthic treatment.
The present study provides evidence that anthelminthic treatment of school-age children infected with intestinal helminth can improve haemoglobin level in addition to reducing the prevalence and intensity of helminth infections one month after treatment. This suggests that deworming of children may benefit the health of children in sub-Sharan Africa where hookworm and S. mansoni infections are prevalent.